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William Hogarth, 1697–1764

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 appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

At St. Giles parish in London, we find that Tom Nero (wearing a hat, in the center of the design) has already begun his downward descent by joining others in torturing innocent animals. But where are the parish officers to restrain and correct Tom and his companions, and provide them with useful employment?

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)
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

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 175 cat. no. 148

William Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor (The Morgan Library & Museum, 2019-05-24 - 2019-09-22) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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

William Hogarth (1697-1764) (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 1989-08-26 - 1989-11-12) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Creative Printmaker (Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art, 1986-03-05 - 1986-04-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Creative Printmaker (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-07-09 - 1985-09-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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

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) [YCBA]

English drawings and watercolors, from the collection of Mr and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, April 15 - June 20 1965, p. 14, no. 4, NC228 Y34 (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Rummel Francis, William Hogarth : A Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Virginia Museum, , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA., January 30-March 5, 1967, p. 31, no. 39, NJ18 H67 +F72 1967 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Adolf Paul Oppé, The drawings of William Hogarth, Phaidon, London, 1948, pp. 18, 47, 67, no. 70, NJ18 H67 O66 (YCBA) [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) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ronald Paulson, Hogarth's graphic works / compiled and with a commentary by Ronald Paulson, Print Room, London, p. 149, no. 187, NJ18 H67 P38 1989 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Pierpont Morgan Library, Hogarth : Cruelty and Humor, Accessed May 5, 2023, https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/hogarth [Website]

The Creative Printmaker, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, no. 14, NE628 C74 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 174-175, no. 148, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Hogarth : dipinti, disegni, incisioni : 26 Agosto-12 Novembre, 1989., , 6, Neri Pozza, Vincenza, Italy, 26 August- 12 November, p. 57, no. 89, NJ18 H67 W55 1989 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 52, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [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) [YCBA]

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