Prints after William Hogarth
Beggar’s Opera, Act III, engraved by William Blake 1790

Artwork details

Prints after William Hogarth 1697–1764
Beggar’s Opera, Act III, engraved by William Blake
Date 1790
Medium Etching and line engraving on paper
Dimensions Image: 402 x 539 mm
Acquisition Transferred from the reference collection 1973
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

In 1772 Blake was apprenticed for seven years to James Basire (1730-1802), a successful copper plate engraver, before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1779 to study as an engraver.
Blake's training under Basire meant that he was able to make a living engraving other artists' work for book illustrations and for separate prints. Importantly, it also provided him with skills which enabled him to develop as a highly original printmaker.
The print after Hogarth was commissioned and published by the greatest printseller of the day, John Boydell. It first appeared in 1788 but this is a later impression. In Boydell's 'Catalogue of Plates', also displayed here, Blake's print is listed on page 21, as no.104.

August 2004

About this artwork