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Lewis Walpole Library Collection of Prints after William Hogarth

Call Number: LWL MSS 42

Scope and Contents

The Lewis Walpole Library Collection of Prints after William Hogarth contains more than 500 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century etchings and engravings that reproduce the works of William Hogarth (1697-1764), the influential British painter and printmaker. Hogarth and his art have been a long-standing focus of debates about copying and copyright dating from his lifetime to the present day. The commercial success of his work made his images a target for both legitimate or authorized copies and piracies. His name has been associated with copyright protections for images since the Engraver’s Act of 1735, commonly known as Hogarth’s Act.

Well-known and celebrated during his lifetime, Hogarth was the focus of continued interest after his death, with numerous commentaries and catalogs of his work published in the succeeding decades. Many of these texts contained illustrations of the paintings, drawings, and engravings being discussed, and it is these plates that make up the bulk of this collection.

Generally small in format (octavo or quarto in size), the prints often show evidence of being formerly bound in volumes. Several disbound title pages and plate indexes offer additional clues as to the works from which the prints were extracted, as do the engraved imprint statements on the individual plates (when present). Nearly all the material in this collection came from the twelve publications listed below, ten of which focus exclusively on Hogarth.

1) Ireland, John. Hogarth Illustrated. 2d ed., corr. 3 vols. London: J. and J. Boydell, 1793-1804. (vols. 1-2: 1793; vol. 3: 1804) (Cited as: Ireland, J. (2nd ed.))

2) Ireland, Samuel. Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth, from Pictures, Drawings, and Scarce Prints in the Possession of Samuel Ireland, Author of This Work. … 2 vols. London: R. Faulder and J. Egerton, 1794-99. (vol. 1: 1794; vol. 2: 1799) (Cited as: Ireland, S.)

3) The Comick Magazine; or, Compleat Library of Mirth, Humour, Wit, Gaiety, and Entertainment. 10 nos. London: Harrison and Co., 1797. (Cited as: Comick Magazine)

4) Nichols, John. The Genuine Works of William Hogarth; Illustrated with Biographical Anecdotes, a Chronological Catalogue, and Commentary. 3 vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808-17. (vol. 1: 1808; vol. 2: 1810; vol. 3: 1817) (Cited as: Nichols)

5) Clerk, Thomas. The Works of William Hogarth (Including the 'Analysis of beauty,') Elucidated by Descriptions, Critical, Moral, and Historical. 2 vols. London: R. Scholey, 1810. (Cited as: Clerk)

6) A Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Pictures of the Late John Julius Angerstein, Esq. London: J. Young [etc.], 1823. (Cited as: Angerstein Catalogue)

7) Trusler, John. Hogarth Moralized: a Complete Edition of All the Most Capital and Admired Works of William Hogarth. London: J. Major, 1831. (Cited as: Trusler (1831))

8) Trusler. John. The Works of William Hogarth: in a Series of Engravings: with Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency. London: Jones and Co., 1833. (Cited as: Trusler (1833))

9) Trusler, John. The Works of William Hogarth in a Series of One Hundred and Fifty Steel Engravings by the First Artists: with Descriptions and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency. 2 vols. London: E. T. Brain & Co., 1849. (Cited as: Trusler (1849))

10) Trusler, John. The Works of William Hogarth: in a Series of Engravings with Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency. 2 vols. London and New York: John Tallis and Company, 1853. (Cited as: Trusler (1853))

11) Trusler, John. The Works of William Hogarth: in a Series of One Hundred and Fifty Steel Engravings, by the First Artists: with Descriptions and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency. 2 vols. in 1. London: London Printing and Publishing Company, between 1856 and 1862. (Cited as: Trusler (1856))

12) Trusler, John. The Complete Works of William Hogarth: in a Series of One Hundred and Fifty Steel Engravings from the Original Pictures. London: London Printing and Publishing Company, between 1860 and 1870. (Cited as: Trusler (1860))

Some of the earliest prints in this collection are those extracted from late eighteenth-century works. Among these are plates engraved in the 1760s by Dent and Corbould, which were originally published as illustrations to John Trusler’s Hogarth Moralized (London: S. Hooper, 1768). These plates were retouched in the 1790s for John Ireland’s Hogarth Illustrated (no. 1 above) and reissued alongside plates by contemporary engravers such as Inigo Barlow, Isaac Mills, and William Skelton; a total of 100 prints from Hogarth Illustrated are found in this collection. A second large group of eighteenth-century prints comes from Samuel Ireland’s Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth (no. 2 above). Ireland himself, along with his daughters Jane and Anna Maria, engraved many of the plates for this publication, 104 of which are present here. Also included are ten prints extracted from The Comick Magazine (no. 3 above), a short-lived periodical from the 1790s that used an engraving after Hogarth as the frontispiece to each issue.

Most represented among the nineteenth-century prints in this collection are those from John Nichols’s The Genuine Works of William Hogarth (no. 4 above). The first two volumes of this work were illustrated with 160 engravings by Thomas Cook, nearly all of which are present here. The third volume contained fifty additional prints, including restrikes of plates by Richard Livesay from the 1780s; seventeen of these are found in this collection. Also present are a handful of prints extracted from other publications of the early nineteenth-century: three from Thomas Clerk’s The Works of William Hogarth (no. 5 above); six from A Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Pictures of the Late John Julius Angerstein (no. 6 above); and five from publisher John Major’s 1831 edition of Hogarth Moralized (no. 7 above).

Among the latest prints in this collection are a group of steel engravings after Hogarth, which had their origins in the 1830s and 1840s but were reissued by various publishers through the latter part of the century. Many of these were first published by Jones and Co. in 1833, as illustrations to The Works of William Hogarth (no. 8 above); of the 108 steel-engraved plates issued in this work, 53 are present here. By the late 1840s the plates were in the possession of the publisher E.T. Brain, who added 42 plates for a total of 150 illustrations. Brain published his own edition of The Works of William Hogarth in 1849 (no. 9 above), and 13 prints in this collection bear his imprint. Brain’s stock of engraved plates was acquired by John Tallis soon after, and the two men formed a partnership that created The London Printing and Publishing Company in 1853. New editions of The Works of William Hogarth followed, first by John Tallis and Company in 1853 (no. 10 above) and then by The London Printing and Publishing Company in the late-1850s (no. 11 above). The same 150 steel-engraved plates were reissued in each publication, with the imprints on the plates often changed to match the title page; 28 prints in this collection bear the imprint of John Tallis and Company, while 5 bear the imprint of The London Printing and Publishing Company. By the 1860s, when The Complete Works of William Hogarth (no. 12 above) was published using that same set of steel engravings, the imprints had been completely removed from the plates; this collection contains 27 such prints lacking an imprint.


  • 1749 - 1875
  • Majority of material found within 1793 - 1870


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Lewis Walpole Library Collection of Prints after William Hogarth is the physical property of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the W. S. Lewis Librarian/Executive Director.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis (Yale 1918), 1979.


Organized into five series: I. Early Engraved Works, 1794-1870. II. "Modern Moral Subjects": The Canon, 1756-1870. III. Prints after Hogarth's Design, 1761-1870. IV. Questionable Attributions, 1794-1849. V. Other Prints after Hogarth, Not in Paulson, 1749-1875.


2.71 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Custodial History

The prints in this collection came to the Yale University Library in 1958, as part of a large gift from Joseph Verner Reed (1902-1973, Yale 1926). The gift contained over 500,000 engravings from the stock of New York gallery owner Robert Fridenberg, and more than 17,000 of these were transferred in 1960 to the Lewis Walpole Collection in Farmington, Connecticut. The prints deposited in Farmington were those that supported the research interests of Wilmarth S. Lewis (1895-1979, Yale 1918), mainly portraits of Britons and British topographical views. A smaller number of prints after British artists were also transferred, including the prints after William Hogarth that comprise this collection. Additional material from Reed’s gift can be found in the Robert Fridenberg Collection of Portrait and Topographical Prints (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, GEN MSS 1000).

At some point after their arrival in Farmington, the portrait and topographical prints were filed into separate “Portraits” (now LWL MSS 35) and “Topos” (now LWL MSS 34) collections, with catalog cards created for at least some of them. The prints after Hogarth might have likewise been separated to form a discrete collection, but no record of this decision could be found and no catalog cards were made in the Lewis era. The earliest known reference to a group of “Hogarth copies” dates from the early 1980s, a few years after Lewis’s death and the bequest of the Lewis Walpole Library to Yale. A typed document from July 1981 lists projects planned for the Print Room of the library, and among them is “catalogue the Hogarth copies that are currently filed in the Gallery.” A later copy of this list, with annotations from 1983, has the word “catalogue” scored through and replaced with the word “list”, suggesting a downgrade in the planned level of processing.

The cataloging effort, before it was abandoned, involved comparison of the loose Hogarth illustrations in this collection with impressions of the same prints bound (as issued) in volumes at the library. A single call number was assigned for each print, and a catalog card was made that referenced both the bound and disbound impressions of that print. Only about 60 cards were made, for the plates in volume 1 of Samuel Ireland’s Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth (75 H67 S794 Copy 1), and a single impression of each corresponding print in this collection was pulled out at that point. These prints remained separate until 2013, when they were integrated into the library’s Hogarth Collection and cataloged in Orbis, Yale’s online catalog; these records can be found using a local call number search “Hogarth 794.00.00”.

There is no evidence that any other prints were removed from this collection, and no additional cataloging was done. Handwritten inventory lists made for the remaining prints followed the same approach as the catalog cards, grouping the prints by the publication from which they came. Despite this recognition that certain groups of prints were published together in the same work, the prints in this collection appear to have been historically organized by print title rather than by publication. An initial assessment of the collection in 2016 determined that the prints were arranged alphabetically by title. Only the first box contained prints from a single publication, those from volume 1 of Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth for which catalog cards were made; this rearrangement of the collection by publication may have continued if cataloging had not ceased.

Processing Information

Historically, the primary arrangement has been to sort images after the same Hogarth work together, and this principle has been retained. However, the previous sorting by title was problematic, as many of these copies are untitled or bear titles different from those of Hogarth’s originals. Such variation caused numerous instances of prints after the same Hogarth work being filed under different titles in different locations within the collection. To eliminate this problem, the bulk of the collection was rearranged by the catalog number and standardized title in the 3rd edition of Ronald Paulson’s Hogarth’s Graphic Works (London: The Print Room, 1989), the definitive catalogue raisonné of Hogarth’s prints. Series I-IV correspond to the four thematic divisions in Paulson’s catalog, with the sequential catalog numbers (1-267) running across these divisions.

At some point, the collection had also been partially reorganized by publication in which the prints were issued. The current arrangement continues this practice in Series V for prints that are not included in Paulson’s catalog, either because the original Hogarth work was not engraved in Hogarth’s lifetime or because the work is no longer attributed to Hogarth. Organized chronologically by publication date, the prints in this series are filed in the order they occur in bound copies of the published works. The inclusion of citations for all the prints in this collection, noting the volume and page number of the work in which they were issued, is further acknowledgement of the sources of these prints. For the twelve publications represented most often in the collection, the brief citations mentioned above are used; for all others, fuller citations are given. A small number of prints at the end of Series V come from unknown sources.

For all prints in the collection, the title and artist/printmaker statements were transcribed as found. When no title was present, one was supplied in square brackets. The preferred source of the supplied title was the plate index for the volume in which the print was issued; when this title was not adequate, either the title from the Paulson catalog or a locally devised title was used. For prints signed using initials only (e.g., “S.I.” for Samuel Ireland, “J.I.” for Jane Ireland, and “A.M.I.” for Anna Maria Ireland), the full name of the printmaker was not noted. When present, the imprint statements on the prints were also transcribed, with these transcriptions following the transcriptions of title and artist/printmaker statements directly. The date in the imprint was used to date the print (even if it was known to be a later reissue); when no date was found on the print, the publication date of the volume from which it came was used instead. A “Plate from:” note citing the source of the print is included if known; page numbers in these citations derive from the plate indexes of the volumes, with any asterisks transcribed as found.

Multiple impressions of the same print are present in many cases and filed together in the same folder. Different states of a print were filed separately, with brief notes explaining the changes in the plate and their relative chronological ordering (i.e., which was printed earlier and which later). Other notes were added sparingly, and these highlight things such as additional identifying text on the prints, imperfections and other physical details, and the presence of multiple images on one plate. The latter situation sometimes results in a single print having multiple lines in the finding aid, if the images that occur together correspond to different Paulson catalog numbers.

During processing, one item (consisting of two prints and accompanying letterpress text in the original covers as issued) was removed from this collection and is now classed as 75 H67 S833s.

Guide to the Lewis Walpole Library Collection of Prints after William Hogarth
Lewis Walpole Library Staff
March 2022
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