Francis Le Piper

The Combat of Hudibras and Cerdon

Not on display

Francis Le Piper ?1640–1695
Oil paint on wood
Support: 235 × 432 mm
displayed: 510 × 310 × 60 mm
Purchased 1959

Catalogue entry

Francis Le Piper ?1640–1698

The Combat of Hudibras and Cerdon
Oil paint on panel
235 x 435 mm
Purchased from P. and D. Colnaghi and Co., Ltd. (Grant-in-Aid) 1959

Ownership history
… ; ? 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, thence bought by Tate Gallery, 1959.

Exhibition history
Paintings by Old Masters, Colnaghi, London, April 1959, no.54.

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 T00248) 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 Hudibras and Ralpho Taken Prisoner (Tate T00248), was originally in the collection of J. 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 initially routed the bear-baiters (Tate T00620) and taken one of them, Crowdero, prisoner (who can be seen in the stocks on the left), Hudibras and Ralpho are taken by surprise by the bear-baiters’ return, intent on revenge. They are engaged in a second fight. Next to Crowdero, on the left, are Talgol and Magnano, both injured by a fluke shot from Hudibras’s rusty pistol. On the right Ralpho, attacked by Orsin, is having difficulty re-mounting his kicking horse, while in the centre Hudibras and Cerdon are locked in battle: Cerdon is about to knock Hudibras’s pistol from his hand.

Tabitha Barber
June 2009


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