[Cruelty in perfection] [graphic] / J. Bell sculp.
[London] Invd. & publish'd by Wm. Hogarth Jany. 1st. 1750
1 print : woodcut on laid paper ; sheet 46.6 x 40 cm
Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires, v. 3, no. 3160 Paulson, R. Hogarth's graphic works (3rd ed.), no. 189
Title, state, and series title from Paulson. Third in a series of four: The four stages of cruelty. Print Shop; October 1959; Acquisitions no.: 959-10-1-258.
Tom Nero, now a highwayman, has been arrested for the murder. He stands in the churchyard over the body of his pregnant lover, Ann Gill, whose throat and wrist are severed. One from the group of men who have apprehended Tom show him the knife as the others restrain him; they are armed with pitchforks, sticks, and other farm tools. Ann lies on her back on the ground, the bundle of plate that she has stolen from her mistress at Nero's request spilling out at her side. The light from the lantern in the left foreground illuminates the contents of Ann's letter to Tom telling the story of her entanglement and guilt. A box with her initials is open revealing a copy of the Book of Common Prayer and a copy of God's revenge against murder. Also on the ground near the lantern are Tom's pistol and a collection of watches that he has stolen. The clock in the church tower shows 1:00; a bat and owls circle overhead.
Four stages of cruelty.
Bell, John, active 1721-1780 [Printmaker] Hogarth, William, 1697-1764 [Artist]
Cemeteries Churches Criminals Homicides Perrins, Charles William Dyson, 1864-1958 Pregnant women Steevens, George, 1736-1800
Parables Woodcuts -- England -- London -- 1751
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