Portrait by William Hogarth (British, 1697-1764) Etching, published 16 May 1763 (two examples) 35.7 x 23cm (14 x 9in) (Plate) (2)
This is the most famous and most savage of the caricatures of Wilkes, and at the time of its publication it was a highly effective piece of propaganda. Hogarth made the sketch from which the print is taken when Wilkes was on trial in Westminster Hall. It is one of his final works, and like the print made in 1746 of the executed Jacobite, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat it is an exceptionally powerful production. The two men were rebels from opposite ends of the political spectrum, a Stuart Loyalist and the King of the mob, but to Hogarth they represented an equivalent threat to the established order, and Lord Lovat was republished in tandem with John Wilkes. The details in Wilkess portrait allude to his satanic principles, in the suggested horns of his wig, as well as his dangerous personification of the cause of Liberty, the cap on a pole, it has been suggested, resembling a chamber pot.