Thomas Cook after William Hogarth
1. An Election Entertainment
2. Canvassing for Votes
3. The Polling
4. The Chairing
21 x 17
Thomas Cook (1744-1818) was an accomplished line engraver of caricatures and portraits after his contemporaries and an excellent choice when it came to finding someone capable of reproducing Hogarth's original engravings. The complete set of prints that he produced after Hogarth's much acclaimed satirical work have a merit all of their own and lose none of the wit and detail of the original plates. He studied under the French engraver Ravenet and was employed by John Boydell, both of whom had worked closely with Hogarth during his lifetime and both of whom would have guided him through this Herculean task.
This series, collectively entitled "Four Prints of An Election", depicts the four stages of what was a notoriously disorderly and often riotous by-election in Oxfordshire in 1754. The Duke of Marlborough, an eminent Whig politician, was challenging an established Tory seat. In each of the four prints we witness how politicians of both parties treated the electorate with disdain, employing bribery and skulduggery to manipulate their gullibility and win their vote. By the fourth plate, the result is immaterial; it is the fabulously corrupt and debauched process used to achieve that result that provides the appeal of this wonderfully entertaining set of prints.
Set of 4