The combat

description below

Satire on the conflict between artists campaigning for a public academy and those who were opposed. William Hogarth (A), shown as the leader of the latter group, rides a peacock. He is followed by (B) probably intended for the journalist Bonnell Thornton, dressed as Mercury, holding a paper lettered “Sr by G[o]d they laugh at us”, and (C) Thomas Burgess, a young artist “who etch’d the Club of Artists” [BM Satires 3278]; (D) consists of a group of young followers sheltering behind the peacock’s tail. Opposite them stands another group, a “New Club”, led by (E) the “Chairman” holding a gavel, probably Francis Hayman, and (F) an older man holding a candle described as a “comic Poet study’d Painter and Chapman”. Behind them stand (G), “a Swiss Operator”, (H) “a great Projector”, (I) “Toast Master General” and others only partly visible; those at the back of this group have peacock feathers in their hats. On the ground between the groups sits (T) “a late Author & Publisher of Scandal”. To the right, a child (U) holding a lantern has climbed a tree in search of “Impartiality”. Above flies Fame (W) “inspiring the Heros”. A zodiacal arc on the left includes a pair of clasped hands (a symbol for mutual trust) lettered “Unknown”.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Burgess, Thomas, approximately 1730-1791, printmaker.
  • Title: The combat [graphic].
  • Publication: [London] : [publisher not identified], [1754?]

Catalog Record


Acquired April 2022

Can you forbear laughing

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“A lady stands at her dressing-table (right), her hair in an enormous pyramid decorated with feathers torn from a peacock, an ostrich and a cock. A young girl wearing a hat holds the peacock by a wing; another wearing a cap tugs hard at one of its tail feathers (which are very unlike peacock’s feathers). An ostrich (left), which has lost most of its tail feathers, is about to pluck out those which ornament the lady’s hair. A cock stands in the foreground (right), having lost almost all its tail feathers, many of which lie on the floor. A black servant wearing a turban stands on his mistress’s right, handing feathers from a number which he holds in his left hand. The lady, who faces three-quarter to the right, is elaborately dressed in the fashion of the day. Her pyramid of hair is decorated with lappets of lace and festoons of jewels as well as with feathers. She wears large earrings, a necklace with a cross, her bodice is cut very low, and her elbow sleeves have lace ruffles. A pannelled wall forms the background.”–British Museum online catalog.

  • Printmaker: Dawe, Philip.
  • Published: London : Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, No. 53 Fleet Street, as the act directs 14 June 1776.

Catalog Record & Digital Collection


Acquired November 2012