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Tailpiece, or The Bathos

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)

Hogarth intended this engraving to serve as the tailpiece to bound volumes of his collected engravings and, appropriately, it proved to be his last engraving. Father Time has died and his last will and testament has been witnessed by the three Fates. He is surrounded by a landscape of death, decay, and ruin. Hogarth aimed this print at dealers in “dark” Old Masters paintings who promoted the idea that ruins evoked sublime feelings in viewers—a sentiment, Hogarth wrote, that was reducing the world to ruin.

William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1930.

Object Information

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)
creation date
etching and engraving
10-1/8 x 11-3/4 in. (image)
16-3/8 x 22-1/8 (sheet)
mark descriptions
Inscriptions in English and Latin; also, "Designed and engraved by William Hogarth"
accession number
credit line
Gift of William George Sullivan
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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