Here  even  the  End  comes  to  an  End

[For the less hardboiled minds the Revue de l’année is recommanded]

William Hogarth, Tail Piece or Bathos

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Tail Piece or The Bathos or manner of Sinking, in Sublime Paintings, inscribed to the Dealers in Dark Pictures. The end of everything, especially that, too, what otherwise signals the ending of the times: Scythe and hourglass are broken as are crown, pipe, palette, bottle, bell, the pub “The Worlds End” with the burning globe as its plate, the church as several other symbols of Vanitas. The clock lost its hands, the trees are as dead as the hanged man – and Phoebus in the burning celestial chariot together with his horses tumbling down to the bottomless abyss. Finally Saturn himself as god of the time as of wealth by agriculture breathes his last “Finis” while his last will – witnessed by the three Fates Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos slips from his hand: All and every Atom there of to Chaos. To increase the bathos a few puns have been mixed in the whole mess: a cobbler’s end and last, a rope’s end, and the candle’s end. Only the man in the thin crescent of the decreasing moon still seems to be alive a bit as also the gallows are standing fast. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). 1798. Inscribed in the plate: Designed by W. Hogarth. / Engraved by T. Cook, otherwise as above. 13⅜ × 14½ in (34 × 36.7 cm).

Extensive caption referring to Analysis of Beauty of 1754 plus verses by Tacitus and Maximus Tyrius.

“ A ridicule of the so-called academic school of painters … As known they pleased with allegories and compositions mixing up mythology of the ancient ages and newer conditions … By the way the dying time is the last picture Hogarth painted. While painting he declared the company it would be his last one; after completion he broke his palette and threw away his brush ”

(Lichtenberg). Meanwhile in the exhibition catalogue of the Tate Gallery of 1972 Paulson only speaks of the last graphic work, accordingly signed just “Design’d and Engrav’d”. And published 3. 3. 1764 – seven months before his death. “Rarely an artist has said goodbye to the world that movingly” (FAZ Nov. 8., 1997).

Wonderful copy from the large Cook edition of 1795-1803, besides Hogarth’s originals the only  equal-sized  one: “(Cook) made his mark as Hogarth engraver, too” (Thieme-Becker). – Watermark “1811 W Balston”; cf. the double mark “J Whatman & W Balston 1813” Heawood 117. – Besides the broad plate mark with extremely broad side margins. There on the far right slight tidemarks. The partial little foxing on the back perceptible quite minimally in just two spots in the heaven’s part.

Offer no. 7,545 / EUR  291. / export price EUR  276. (c. US$ 301.) + shipping

– – – The same. Engraving by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). 1807. Inscribed: The Bathos. / Hogarth pinxt. / T. Cook sculpt. Image size 6⅛ × 6¾ in (15.6 × 17.2 cm; sheet size 8⅜ × 10¾ in [21.2 × 27.4 cm]).

Very fine impression from the second, small Cook edition from the years 1806-09. – Trimmed within the extremely wide white plate margin which is somewhat time-stained below and at the right.

Offer no. 9,002 / EUR  50. (c. US$ 54.) + shipping

– – – The same. Engraving by Carl Heinrich Rahl (Hoffenheim 1779 – Vienna 1843). (1818-1823.) 7⅝ × 9 in (19.5 × 23 cm).

Without the caption. – “Very interesting edition” (Nagler) after the engravings in the Duke Albert collection.

Offer no. 7,739 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 95.) + shipping

– – – The same. Engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840). (1794-1835.) Inscribed in the plate: 44 / W. Hogarth inv. / R. d sc f. 8½ × 9¾ in (21.5 × 23.5 cm).

Early impression with distinct plate tone and very wide lateral margins. – Without the caption which was provided for by a wide lower plate margin though was never entered. Later the plate was trimmed below accordingly (cf. no. 12,144).

Riepenhausen’s  main  work  (“very valuable”, Nagler), partly even preferred to Hogarth’s own engravings. Riepenhausen was engraver at the university of Göttingen and a friend of Gottfried August Bürger’s.

Offer no. 7,740 / EUR  125. (c. US$ 136.) + shipping

– – – – The same. As before, but on slightly toned minor paper. 8⅝ × 9⅜ in (22 × 23.8 cm).

Offer no. 14,086 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 95.) + shipping

– – – – The same. Impression from the plate trimmed in the lower plate margin for the never entered text (cf. no. 7,740) of about 1850 on especially strong paper. 7¾ × 9¾ in (19.7 × 23.5 cm).

Offer no. 12,144 / EUR  115. (c. US$ 125.) + shipping

– – – The same. Das Ende aller Dinge (The End of all Things). Lithograph by C. F. Heintz. (1833-36.) Inscribed in the stone: lith. C. F. Heintz, otherwise as above. 8⅛ × 8⅛ in (20.5 × 20.7 cm).

The really light foxing visible almost only against the light. – All in all good though not evenly tinted impression. – With extensive caption à la Lichtenberg in German:

“ As Hogarth got closer to his end he promised to paint the end of all things. And thus this plate resulted, a baroque tragic-comic compilation of innumerable things coming to a close. Death himself has broken his pipe, his scythe, his glass, and breathes the last cloud of tobacco with a Finis! He set chaos as his heir. The World’s End, a pub, falls apart, the times, though just a paper (Hogarth’s own plate The Times), is set alight by a candle’s end. Shoe brush and decoration ribbon, bow and gun, a worn out broom and a shattered bell, a play that has been played, and so much else lies higgledy-piggledy in a mess. Above the celestial chariot is burning and a church is just ruins. Only one thing held on – The gallows. It seems also the coming world cannot miss it, so it remains upright anyway. Also his broken palette Hogarth threw amongst. He did not paint again since two (recte about seven) months later he had passed away. ”

Offer no. 14,087 / EUR  87. (c. US$ 95.) + shipping

– – – The same. Das Ende aller Dinge (The End of all Things). Steel engraving. C. 1840. Inscribed as above. 5¼ × 6⅛ in (13.5 × 15.5 cm). – On slightly browned paper.

Offer no. 7,742 / EUR  38. (c. US$ 41.) + shipping

  1. Almost 240 years later, Robert Murray will title chapter XV of The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (2002): The Chaos to come.

„ Das Bild ist heute zu meiner vollsten Zufriedenheit eingetroffen … Für die reibungslose und prompte Lieferung dankend, verbleibt mit den besten Endjahreswünschen, freundlichst Ihr … “

(Herr K. v. F., 16. Dezember 2008)