“The Beggar’s Opera, Act III”: in The Original and Genuine Works of William Hogarth.

London: Boydell and Company, c.1795. Oblong large folio on wove paper (plate mark 583 x 455 mm on sheet 650 x 490 mm). An exceptionally fine, dark impression on bright paper, with the original wide margins untrimmed. Third and best state (of seven, see below) of the single plate Blake engraved for Hogarth’s Works, first published by Boydell in 1790, this state appearing in the second, undated edition c. 1795. It was the last state of the plate before hands other than Blake touched up the plate. A remarkably crisp and brilliant impression of Blake’s richly detailed rendition of Hogarth’s painting showing the famous scene in which Macheath the highwayman stands chained, under sentence of death, between his two lovers, the jailer’s daughter Lucy Lockit, and the lawyer’s daughter, Polly Peachum. The plate was next used for an 1822 edition by which time several small changes had been made by another engraver. Bentley, Blake Books, 475 I. Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, XX. (Item Id: 107769)

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