Watermark: Countermark: Letters "IV".
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, III, 32c.
Wiles, Stephanie. To Observe and Imagine : British Drawings, 1600-1900. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1998, no. 20.
One of four drawings for the engraved series "Four Stages of Cruelty".
The adult Nero drives a hackney cab in London and his cruel impulses are now directed at larger prey. Frustrated, he uses the handle of his whip to mercilessly beat his horse. The beast struggles to advance with four corpulent lawyers in tow whose combined weight has broken the animal's foreleg. The single Good Samaritan notes Nero's cab number to report him to the authorities. The city's streets are bustling with cruel acts: a stray sheep is clubbed to death, a child is run over by an unconscious beer- cart driver, and an overloaded donkey is driven down the street, as men and dogs participate in the popular sport of bull-baiting in the distance.
In the related print, details such as the signs promoting blood sports- cockfighting contests and a boxing match between celebrated pugilists James Field and George Taylor- indicate a widespread public insensitivity to cruelty. The burdened donkey in the middle ground is now being prodded with a pitchfork as he hefts a large trunk, another instance of Hogarth expanding in his prints the range of indignities seen in the drawings. -- Exhibition Label, from "Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor"
See also the records for the rest of the drawings in this series of four scenes (III,32b; III, 32c; III, 32d; III, 32e).
Hogarth, Jane, 1711?-1789, former owner.
Lort, Michael, 1725-1790, former owner.
Joly, J. R. (Jasper Robert), former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.