William Hogarth

Paul before Felix


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
William Hogarth 1697–1764
Etching and engraving on paper
Image: 384 × 508 mm
Transferred from the reference collection 1973

Catalogue entry

T01805 Paul before Felix 1752–62

Etching and engraving 384×508 (15 3/4×20) on paper 467×619 (18 1/2×24 3/8); plate-mark 428×523 (16 7/8×20 5/8)
Writing-engraving ‘And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and Judgment to come, Felix trembled.|Engraved by W.m. Hogarth from his Original Painting in Lincoln's Inn Hall, & publish'd as the Act directs,Feb.5.1752.|Plate2
Transferred from the reference collection 1973
LITERATURE Oppé 1948, p.46; Paulson 1970, I, pp.217–18, no.192, II, pls.207, 280; C. Whitfield, ‘William Hogarth's “Paul before Felix” at Lincoln's Inn’, Burlington Magazine, CXII, 1971, pp.210–14

Hogarth's original painting for this was executed in 1748 for Lincoln's Inn, where it still hangs. His assistant Luke Sullivan was first called upon to make an engraving after it, based on a drawing by Hogarth (in reverse to the painting) now in a private Scottish collection (Whitfield 1971, fig.54). Hogarth introduced in it several changes to the composition, and then set the resulting print aside as unsatisfactory. It was later issued with the same publication date as Hogarth's own engraving here. This latter is much closer to the painting as it now appears after recent restoration: in the nineteenth century Sullivan's engraving had been used as the basis for some extensive overpainting of the work.

‘Paul before Felix’ was published as a companion to ‘Moses brought to Pharaoh's Daughter’ (T01798). This, the fourth state of the print, was issued some time after 1762. Hogarth's drawing for it is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (Whitfield 1971, fig.53).

Published in:
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988

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