Size: Size of frame 40 x 34 cm, print 21 x 26.5 cm (to platemark)
Age: Original engraving 1736, revised 1762, this is a print c1837 from the original plate
Condition: The print is in very good condition, a clear impression with a good plate mark and margins. It comes from a portfolio which has been stored flat and not displayed since publication. The print has been mounted in a frame made up of late 18th or early 19th century ebonised pine with applied gilded moulding, which is typically what would have been used originally to frame this print. The frame has a few small scuffs and losses and a nice antique feel.
One of Hogarth's most engaging and well known small engravings.
This print was published in October 1736 and sold for One Shilling as "A print, Representing a Sleepy Congregation in a Country Church". Hogarth no doubt issued the print more times, because up the right hand side im this copy run the words "Retouched & Improved April 21st 1762 by the Author". This is the final state of the print.
A scholarly commentary on the print and its symbolism can be found in Paulson, Hogarth's Graphic Works, page 98/99 (the print is Paulson 140).
However, the main focus of this print is the central face of the clerk seated beneath the pulpit, who is staring fixedly at the sleeping young woman's bosom. She has been reading a book "of Matrimony". The rest of the congregation are fast asleep while the vicar preaches from the text "Come unto Me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".
This copy was printed by Baldwin Cradock and Joy in 1835-1837, as part of their series of Hogarth's work, the last to use the original plates. The edition was issued as prints (ie not in books form) in paper wrappers. The print is of very high quality, on wove paper.
A great display piece and original work of art.