William Hogarth

British, b.1697, d.1764

The Bruiser, C. Churchill (once the Revd), in the Character of a Russian Hercules, Regaling himself after having Kill’d the Monster Caricatura that so Sorely Gall’d his Virtuous friend, the Heaven born Wilkes

  • Presented by Gordon H Brown, 1972
  • Engraving
  • 380 x 287mm
  • 72/150
  • 1763

Here’s some beastly behaviour: William Hogarth, a famous eighteenth-century British artist, trading insults with two gentlemen whom he had greatly upset. Hogarth had published an engraving attacking the journalist Charles Churchill and the politician John Wilkes, and another showing Wilkes being tried in court. Churchill, in return, published a vicious poem about Hogarth. He retaliated by making this print, picturing Churchill as a drunken bear, clutching a beer tankard and a club covered in ‘lyes’. The picture in the lower right-hand corner shows Hogarth whipping Churchill and Wilkes (as a performing bear and monkey) into line. Meanwhile, Hogarth’s pug passes judgement on Churchill’s poem.

(Beasts, 2015)

The background to this print - in which Hogarth attacks the poet Charles Churchill (1732-1764) - was elegantly explained by the Tate Gallery during its 2007 William Hogarth exhibition. You can find full details here.