William Hogarth, Charles MosleyO the Roast Beef of Old England ('The Gate of Calais') 1749

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Artwork details

William Hogarth (1697‑1764)
Charles Mosley (1744‑c.1770)
O the Roast Beef of Old England ('The Gate of Calais')
Date 1749
MediumEtching and engraving on paper
Dimensionsimage: 432 x 569 mm
Acquisition Presented by Mrs M.L. Hemphill 1984
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

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This was an expensive print at five shillings, elements of which were later used in the Napoleonic wars for army recruitment posters. Much of this influential image ridicules Catholicism. The fisherwomen wearing crucifixes on the left seem to pray to the cheap flat fish in front of them. In the background, through the gate, 'superstitious' locals are kneeling before the Cross, beneath a tavern sign of a dove, symbol of the Holy Ghost, in Hogarth's mockery of the Eucharist. More earthly nourishment, however, comes in the form of the unattainable sirloin of British beef… (read more)

August 2004

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