William Hogarth. “The five Orders of Perriwigs . . ..” London: John Stockdale, Piccadilly & John Walker and G. Robinson, Paternoster Row, 1812. 10 1/4 x 8 1/4. Re-engraving by Thomas Cook. Very good condition.
A fascinating print by William Hogarth (1697-1764), considered by many to be the greatest English caricaturist of all time. He was an perceptive observer and his illustrations of the social and political conduct of his day are fascinating historical documents and humorous depictions of human foibles, which have remained much the same over the last two centuries. Hogarth was a painter of considerable accomplishment, but it is for his remarkable prints that he is best known.
The popularity of Hogarth’s prints led to the publication, in 1795, of a complete set of Hogarth’s images “faithfully copied from his finished proofs, by T[homas] Cook. This print comes from an early nineteenth century reissue of that work. This image first appeared in 1761 soon after the coronation of George III and Queen Charlotte and in anticipation of James Stuart’s The Antiquities of Athens in which a prescription for architecture would require that five orders be observed. Hogarth satirized the gentlemen, especially lawyers and ladies of the peerage, by classifying the orders in hair pieces worn by each. An outline based on phrenology studies is used for this satire.