John Wilkes, Esq.
Etching and Engraving
May 16, 1763
Frame: 16 5/8” x 11 5/8”; Sight: 14 ¼” x 9 ¼”
Caricatural portrait of John Wilkes holding the cap of liberty.
Wilkes, a radical British journalist, politician, magistrate, essayist, and soldier, was widely admired in the American colonies as a political journalist, revolutionary politician, a fighter for liberty, and supporter of American rebels. Wilkes was a champion of individual liberty against the power of the state. Hogarth, an ardent royalist, did not like him. Wilkes was known to be one of the ugliest men of his day; he stated that "it took him only half an hour to talk away his face and win over the listener". Hogarth did not overstate his image to satirize the man. The engraving, one of Hogarth's last, displeased many and won him few friends. Wilkes did not take great offense.
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