This highly finished red chalk drawing was made by the leading French engraver Bernard Baron after William Hogarth’s 1741 portrait of Dr Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Winchester. This important, previously unpublished drawing offers vital evidence for the process Hogarth undertook to producing reproductive engravings after his works.
Bernard Baron was born in France, the son of the engraver Laurent Baron, and studied under his step-father, Nicolas-Henri Tardieu. Baron moved to London in 1712 at the invitation of Claude Dubosc to assist him in producing prints of the Laguerre murals at Marlborough House. Baron was an important conduit for bringing the techniques of French engraving to Britain; he produced plates of Thornhill’s paintings in the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and in 1720 he assisted Dubosc and Nicolas Dorigny with their engravings after the Raphael cartoons. In 1729 Baron returned to Paris – according to Vertue, because there was ‘not much business’ in London – where he contributed to the Recueil Crozat, the monumental publication of Italian drawings from the collection of Pierre Crozat and engraved four plates for the Recueil Jullienne a compendium of 271 engravings of Watteau’s paintings and decorations commissioned by the textile manufacturer and collector Jean de Jullienne.
The present sheet is the first evidence of Baron’s relationship with William Hogarth. This drawing also answers the question, first raised by Wark in 1957, of whether the engraving was made from Hogarth’s painting of Bishop Hoadly now in the Tate, or whether the Tate painting was made after the engraving. Baron’s drawing is clearly after the Tate painting and was made in preparation for the engraving which was published in 1743. An advertisment in the July 14th edition of the London Daily Post records that impressions were available ‘to be had at the Golden Head in Leicster-Fields’ this was Hogarth’s shop, ‘price 3s’. The publication of this plate marked the beginning of Baron’s association with Hogarth and Baron was one of four French engravers employed by Hogarth to engrave plates for Marriage a la Mode in 1745. Two carefully worked red-chalk drawings relating to Baron’s engravings survive in the Royal Collection and suggest that this was his standard working practice. It is revealing that Hogarth subsequently employed the same method in preparation for the Four Stages of Cruelty published in 1751, Hogarth’s highly finished preparatory sheets are now in the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, who owned the present drawing, gave the British Museum a secondhighly finished red chalk drawing of Archbishop Thomas Herring made by Baron in preparation for the engraving published in 1750, suggesting that the two drawings had historically remained together. The present highly finished drawing offers important evidence for understanding Hogarth’s relationship with the engravers he employed, as well as important evidence of the complex relationship between French printmakers and British painters in the early eighteenth century.
- For Hogarth’s relationship with his French engravers see: Ronald Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic works, London, 1989, pp.13-14.
- Robert Wark, ‘Two Portraits by Hogarth’, The Burlington Magazine, vol.99, no.655, October 1957, pp.344-345.
- Ronald Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic works, London, 1989, pp.117-120, pls.159-160.
- Paul Oppé, English Drawings at Windsor Castle, Oxford, 1950, p.66, cat. no.362.
- British Museum, museum no. 2011,7084.52.