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The Ballarat Mechanics Institute has, in the extensive heritage collection of rare books, a complete volume of the works of William Hogarth.

This publication is the 1822 (1837) edition of plates restored by James Heath, Esq.,R.A.

There are a total of 116 full-page plates, some 40 pages having multiple engravings.

Inspection of the plates may be had on application to the BMI librarian, and a suitable time for showing can be arranged.

The plates are not on permanent display in the heritage library.

The Works Of

William Hogarth,

From The Original Plates Restored By James Heath, Esq. R.A.;

With The Addition Of Many Subjects Not Before Collected;

To Which Are Prefixed, A Biographical Essay On The Genius and Productions of Hogarth,

And Explanations Of The Subjects Of The Plates, By John Nichols, Esq. F.S.A.


PLATE I

At the Bell Inn, in Wood Street—Mary Hackabout and the Procuress

“The snares are set, the plot is laid,
Ruin awaits thee, hapless maid!
Seduction sly assails thine ear,
And gloating, foul desire is near;
Baneful and blighting are their smiles,
Destruction waits upon their wiles:
Alas! thy guardian angel sleeps,
Vice clasps her hands, and virtue weeps.”—E.

This series of prints gives the history of a Prostitute. The story commences with her arrival in London, where, initiated in the school of profligacy, she experiences the miseries consequent to her situation, and dies in the morning of life. Her variety of wretchedness forms such a picture of the way in which vice rewards her votaries, as ought to warn the young and inexperienced from entering this path of infamy. The first scene of this domestic tragedy is laid at the Bell Inn, in Wood Street, and the heroine may possibly be daughter to the poor old clergyman who is reading the direction of a letter close to the York waggon, from which vehicle she has just alighted. In attire, neat, plain, unadorned; in demeanor, artless, modest, diffident; in the bloom of youth, and more distinguished by native innocence than elegant symmetry; her conscious blush and downcast eyes attract the attention of a female friend who panders to the vices of the opulent and libidinous. Coming out of the door of the inn we discover two men, one of whom is eagerly gloating on the devoted victim. This is a portrait, and said to be a strong resemblance of Colonel Francis Chartres, whose epitaph was written by Doctor Arbuthnot: in that epitaph his character is most emphatically described.

The old procuress, immediately after the girl’s alighting from the waggon, addresses her with the familiarity of a friend rather than the reserve of one who is to be her mistress.

Had her father been versed in even the first rudiments of physiognomy, he would have prevented her engaging with one of so decided an aspect; for this also is the portrait of a woman infamous in her day: but he, good, easy man, unsuspicious as Fielding’s Parson Adams, is wholly engrossed in the contemplation of a superscription to a letter addressed to the bishop of the diocese. So important an object prevents his attending to his daughter, or regarding the devastation occasioned by his gaunt and hungry Rozinante having snatched at the straw that packs up some earthenware, and produced

“The wreck of flower-pots, and the crash of pans!”


PLATE II

The Jew’s Mistress quarrelling with her Keeper

“Ah! why so vain, though blooming in thy spring;
Thou shining, frail, adorn’d, but wretched thing!
Old age will come; disease may come before,
And twenty prove as fatal as threescore!”

Entered into the path of infamy, the next scene exhibits our young heroine the mistress of a rich Jew, attended by a black boy, and surrounded with the pompous parade of tasteless profusion. Her mind being now as depraved as her person is decorated, she keeps up the spirit of her character by extravagance and inconstancy. An example of the first is exhibited in the monkey being suffered to drag her rich head-dress round the room, and of the second in the retiring gallant. The Hebrew is represented at breakfast with his mistress; but having come earlier than was expected, the favourite has not departed. To secure his retreat, is an exercise for the invention of both mistress and maid. This is accomplished by the lady finding a pretence for quarrelling with the Jew, kicking down the tea-table, and scalding his legs, which, added to the noise of the china, so far engrosses his attention, that the paramour, assisted by the servant, escapes discovery.

The subjects of two pictures with which the room is decorated are, David dancing before the ark, and Jonah seated under a gourd. They are placed there, not merely as circumstances which belong to Jewish story, but as a piece of covert ridicule on the old masters, who generally painted from the ideas of others, and repeated the same tale ad infinitum. On the toilet-table we discover a mask, which well enough intimates where she had passed part of the preceding night, and that masquerades, then a very fashionable amusement, were much frequented by women of this description; a sufficient reason for their being avoided by those of an opposite character.

Under the protection of this disciple of Moses she could not remain long. Riches were his only attraction, and though profusely lavished on this unworthy object, her attachment was not to be obtained, nor could her constancy be secured; repeated acts of infidelity are punished by dismission; and her next situation shows that, like most of the sisterhood, she had lived without apprehension of the sunshine of life being darkened by the passing cloud, and made no provision for the hour of adversity.

In this print the characters are marked with a master’s hand. The insolent air of the harlot, the astonishment of the Jew, eagerly grasping at the falling table, the start of the black boy, the cautious trip of the ungartered and barefooted retreating gallant, and the sudden spring of the scalded monkey, are admirably expressed. To represent an object in its descent has been said to be impossible: the attempt has seldom succeeded; but in this print, the tea equipage really appears falling to the floor.


PLATE III

The Lodging in Drury Lane—Visit of the Constables

Reproach, scorn, infamy, and hate,
On all thy future steps shall wait;
Thy form be loathed by every eye,
And every foot thy presence fly.

We here see this child of misfortune fallen from her high estate! Her magnificent apartment is quitted for a dreary lodging in the purlieus of Drury Lane: she is at breakfast, and every object exhibits marks of the most wretched penury; her silver tea-kettle is changed for a tin-pot, and her highly-decorated toilet gives place to an old leaf-table, strewed with the relics of the last night’s revel, and ornamented with a broken looking-glass.

Around the room are scattered tobacco-pipes, gin measures, and pewter pots,—emblems of the habits of life into which she is initiated, and the company which she now keeps: this is further intimated by the wig-box of James Dalton, a notorious street-robber, who was afterwards executed. In her hand she displays a watch, which might be either presented to her, or stolen from her last night’s gallant. By the nostrums which ornament the broken window, we see that poverty is not her only evil. The dreary and comfortless appearance of every object in this wretched receptacle, the bit of butter on a piece of paper, the candle in a bottle, the basin upon a chair, the punch-bowl and comb upon the table, and the tobacco-pipes, etc. strewed upon the unswept floor, give an admirable picture of the style in which this pride of Drury Lane ate her matin meal. The pictures which ornament the room are, Abraham offering up Isaac, and a portrait of the Virgin Mary; Dr. Sacheverel, and Macheath the highwayman are companion prints. There is some whimsicality in placing the two ladies under a canopy, formed by the unnailed valance of the bed, and characteristically crowned by the wig-box of a highwayman.

A magistrate, cautiously entering the room with his attendant constables, commits her to an house of correction, where our legislators wisely suppose, that being confined to the improving conversation of her associates in vice, must have a powerful tendency towards the reformation of her manners!


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