The Analysis of Beauty
London, Baldwin, Cradock & Joy 1822
Two plates £380
A fine pair of Hogarth’s satires on his usual theme of the public’s lack of support and appreciation for contemporary British artists and the exaggerated admiration for copies of antique classical art and sculpture. In plate ‘a’ the setting is John Cheere’s statuary yard adjoining Hyde Park Corner, full of ‘leaden imitations’ and plaster copies of antique statues. The central figure is a Venus on a pedestal, in the background is a small Laocoon group, on the right a Roman general in an incongruous peruke seems to fell a Julius Caesar (who is supported by a rope around his neck) with a roll of paper, and a immensely complicated funerary monument to a judge who writes gravely on a scroll. On the left a dancing master admires an extremely camp statue of Antinous, while above them is an equally camp, muscular Farnese Hercules. In the foreground are various anatomical drawings, a Greek kouros and a mock classical capital. The design is surrounded with mock representations depicting aspects of Hogarth’s famous serpentine Line of Beauty. Plate ‘b’ shows an assembly in an elaborate pilastered room, with seven pairs of clumsy, energetic dancers. Two niches contain staues of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth and there are Royal portraits on the wall. In the foreground is a barking greyhound, a pile of discarded hats and a tiny elderly husband points to his watch indicating the lateness of the hour to his pretty young wife. The design is again surrounded by sketches of objects illustrating the Line of Beauty. Paulson 195 & 196 final states.