Francis Le Piper ?1640–1698
Hudibras and Ralpho Taken Prisoner
Oil paint on panel
2325 x 430 mm
Presented by Sir John Rothenstein through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1963
… ; ? W. Davies, 1816, sold Christie’s. 9 June 1821 (no.138, as by Hogarth), bought Ford; … ; Southgate’s, bought John Britton by 1833; given to George Godwin, 1848; W. Hilton Nash, 1888; R.W. Alston; P. and D. Colnaghi and Co., Ltd.
Paintings by Old Masters, Colnaghi, April 1959, no.29.
J.B. Nichols (ed.), Anecdotes of William Hogarth, Written by Himself, 1833 edn, p.349.
John C. Conybeare, ‘The East Haddon Hogarths’, Art Journal, 1874, p.265.
Austin Dobson, William Hogarth, 1902, pp.167–8.
Tate’s four works by Le Piper (see also Tate T00620, T00621 and T00247) entered the collection as separate pairs, in 1959 and 1963, although it seems likely that originally they all formed part of a set of twelve panels illustrating episodes from Samuel Butler’s hugely popular satirical poem, Hudibras. This work, together with The Combat of Hudibras and Cerdon (Tate T00247), was originally in the collection of John Britton, possibly two of the set of twelve panels illustrating Hudibras he is recorded owning, then attributed to Van der Gucht. For a general introduction to the series see Hudibras’s First Encounter with the Bear-Baiters (Tate T00620).
This scene is taken from Part 1, Canto 3. Having almost dispatched the bear-baiters for a second time (Tate T00247), Hudibras is then set upon by Trulla, ‘a bold virago, stout and tall’, to whom he eventually submits (the panel showing Hudibras and Trulla in combat was one of those sold at Sotheby’s on 18 November 1981. A pastel drawing, perhaps after the panel rather than a preliminary design for it, appeared, with three others at Sotheby’s on 11 November 1993 (no.5). In a humiliating gesture Trulla arrays Hudibras with her mantle, which he can be seen wearing here. The captives, Hudibras and Ralpho, bound and mounted backwards on their horses, are then led away, which this scene depicts. Leading the procession are Orsin and Talgol while in the rear is Trulla, armed with Hudibras’s surrendered pistol and sword. A preliminary ink sketch for this scene is in the British Museum, but with only two figures in front of Trulla instead of four.