prints after William Hogarth

Beggar’s Opera, Act III, engraved by William Blake

1790

Medium
Engraving on paper
Dimensions
Image: 401 x 537 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Transferred from the reference collection 1991
Reference
T06462

Display caption

The high point in Blake's career as a commercial engraver was the commission for this engraving after Hogarth. It came from John Boydell, the leading print publisher of the day, probably sometime during early 1788. This, the largest and finest of all Blake's reproductive prints, was therefore in hand at just about the time he was working on his first relief etchings (see nos.20, 21). Possibly the fee he received for the work tided him and his wife over while this new method was developed. Blake did not immediately receive another commission from Boydell. This might have been an extra incentive to exploit the potential of relief etching.

Gallery label, August 2004