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Originally published on sheet as a set of two:‘The Times Plate 1’ and ‘A Country Yard Inn’.
Published London, 1796-1806 for "Hogarth Restored. The Whole Works of the Celebrated William Hogarth..." By Thomas Cook.
Water damaged. Water stain that affects right of image, from top to bottom, mostly visible from back. Another water stain upper/middle of image. Small smudge outside image.
41 X 27.5 cm
William Hogarth's "The Times" (Plates One and Two) were created two years before his death, These engravings contain some of his most pessimistic imagery upon the political machinations and corruptions of the day. "The Times", Plate Two, in fact was suppressed by William Hogarth, and then his widow, and was not published until 1790 when John Boydell printed the plate for his set of original William Hogarth engravings.
The Times, Plate I
The Times, Plate I sets out to defend King George III and the ministry of the Earl of Bute. A fire, symbolic of war, has broken out in the background buildings. Each of these buildings represents a nation. The sign with the two men shaking hands represents Spain, the two headed eagle, Germany, and the lily, France. This wide sweeping conflagration has spread to the globe, to the right. Towering above his supporters by means of stilts is William Pitt, who is fanning the fire. Around his neck he wears a large millstone on which is inscribed '3000 L per annum', indicating his retirement pension.
A fire engine occupies the center of the scene. It represents both Britain and the King ('GR'). Aided by a Scot and other loyal supporters the King attempts to put out the fire within the globe. Above the engine flies a dove of peace. From the Temple Coffee House three individuals direct their water hoses not at the globe but at the King. The faceless character occupying the lower window is Earl Temple, Pitt's brother-in law. The signs to the left all refer to Pitt and his supporters. One sign, 'Alive From America' advertises wealth to be gained from colonial exploitation.
In the foreground to the right are the refugees who have fled the European war. Two children and one adult have recently died. An insane man plays his fiddle. Turning such misery to financial gain, A Dutch merchant happily smokes his pipe to the lower left corner.