<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

William Hogarth, 1697–1764, British
The First Stage of Cruelty
ca. 1750
Graphite and red chalk on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 15 1/2 x 13 1/8 inches (39.4 x 33.3 cm)

(Pro Patria) (?)

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
artillery | bone | buildings | cats (domestic cats) | coats | dogs (animals) | genre subject | gibbets | hats | lamps (lighting devices) | men | puppets | shoes (footwear) | windows
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

Hogarth is probably best known for the prints of "Modern Moral Subjects," which he designed and engraved, including A Rake's Progress Marriage A-la-Mode, and Industry and Idleness, a large proportion of his few surviving drawings are preliminary studies or cartoons for engravings. The finalized designs were transferred to a copper plate, and the engraved images appeared in reverse of the drawings. Cat. 148 [B1975.4.1543] is a preliminary study for the first plate of The Four Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth subsequently produced a more highly finished drawing for transfer to the plate. In his Autobiographical Notes Hogarth explained The Four Stages of Cruelty, were done in hopes of preventing in some degree that cruel treatment of poor Animals, which makes the streets of London more disagreeable to the human mind, than any thing…neither great correctness of drawing or fine engraving were at all necessary but on the contrary would set the price of them out of…the reach of those for whom they were chiefly intended.
--Gillian Forrester,2001-05
Exhibition History:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

English Drawings and Watercolors from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20)

The Creative Printmaker (Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art, 1986-03-05 - 1986-04-20)

The Creative Printmaker (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-07-09 - 1985-09-01)

William Hogarth (1697-1764) (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 1989-08-26 - 1989-11-12)

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05)

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

William Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor (The Morgan Library & Museum, 2019-05-24 - 2019-09-22)

<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

A loan exhibition of English drawings and watercolours from the collection of Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon of Upperville, Virginia, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, 1964, cat. no. 4, N5247.M385 L62 (YCBA)

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, v.1: p. 203, no. 392, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA)

Yale University Art Gallery, English drawings and watercolors, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, April 15 - June 20, 1965 , New Haven, 1965, cat. no. 4, NC228 Y34 (YCBA)

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.