Hogarth etched by Cruikshank

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William Hogarth (1697-1764), Hogarth Moralized. Being a Complete Edition of Hogarth’s Works … accompanied with concise and comprehensive explanations of their moral tendency by Dr. Trusler (London: J. Major, 1831). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1831.6

Reverend John Trusler (1735-1820) published books on medicine, farming, history, politeness, law, theology, travel, and gardening. Not content with his work in the church, he studied medicine and may or may not have finished the degree. According to the Oxford DNB, he assumed the title Dr. and described himself as a medical gentleman. In 1766, Jane Hogarth, the artist’s widow, employed Trusler to write moral commentaries on William Hogarth’s prints, which she published as The Works of Mr. Hogarth Moralized.

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Dr. Trusler’s preface begins: “So much having been said, in the course of this work, of Mr. Hogarth’s abilities, and excellence; any thing more, on that head, would be deemed tautology. I shall only say … lest I should be condemned for want of taste … that I never designed to point out that which stands so visible to the world, or, pay the public so ill a compliment, as not to imagine them as capable of judging of beauties and deformities, as one that never made them his study.”

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The 1831 edition contains eighty original prints after Hogarth, etched by a number of artists including George Cruikshank (1792-1878), who worked on The Company of Undertakers and The Public Lecture.

The book was a financial success. “The first edition of this work offered the means of studying our great artist at one-fifth of the expense of any former one—the striking novelty of bringing so singular a collection into a convenient form, and at a price within the reach of all classes, proved so very acceptable to the public, that a fine copy of the perfect work has produced five times its original cost.”

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