Robert SAYER after William Hogarth
Four copper plate engravings published in London in 1768, by Robert Sayer after the designs of William Hogarth.
Framed size 20 x 16 inches
Hogarth is, perhaps, the best-known and most important engraver of the eighteenth century. He began his career as an engraver on silver and did not produce his first engraving, a small trade card, until 1720. From the moment that he completed the set of six paintings entitled Harlot’s Progress and the subsequent set of prints, Hogarth realised that he could convey his message to a much larger audience and profit from the sale of prints at the same time. Immediately the prints were executed pirate copies were printed and it was this that prompted Hogarth to agitate for the passing of the ‘Engravers’ Copyright Act’, whereby the copyright of the artist’s design was protected for fourteen years.
Soon after Hogarth’s death in 1764, his widow Jane gave the London publisher Robert Sayer permission to publish a collection of her husband’s prints. Thus the series Les Satyres de Guillaume Hogarth Oeuvre Moral et Comique have the distinction of being one of the earliest authorized collections of his work. Although they were engraved to a slightly smaller scale they retain all the detail and clarity that make Hogarth’s images so enduringly fascinating.