Hogarth was one of the most brilliant students of human nature ever to set pencil to paper, or burin to copper. Hogarth helped popularize a highly didactic and satirical form of serial narrative, of which his Rake’s Progress of 1735 is perhaps his best known. Less well known but important are the two prints entitled The Invasion, which Hogarth produced early in 1756 on the occasion of the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War between France and England. Plate 1 of The Invasion (Eskenazi Museum of Art 70.1.18) focuses on France. Hogarth’s anti-clerical viewpoint is evident in the portrayal of a priest laboring over a pile of torture implements to be used in an inquisition against the Protestant Church of England. In Plate 2 showing England, Hogarth has not spared his own countryman, either. A group mocks the French king by drawing a caricature on the wall of a tavern named after the English hero, the Duke of Cumberland. Behind them and in the background, disciplined groups of soldiers prepare to meet the onslaught of the French invaders. Accompanied by self-explanatory captions, both plates were enormously successful and became, in effect, recruiting posters, stirring the wave of patriotic feeling sweeping over England at the time.
England, Plate 2 from The Invasion, 1756
Etching on paper
Image: 17 7/8 x 14 13/16 in. (45.4 x 37.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, former Fine Arts Collection, 70.1.19