First Stage of Cruelty [print]


Hogarth’s prints for the Stages of Cruelty appeared on 21 February 1751, a week after Beer Street and Gin Lane were issued. These four prints were executed in the same coarse, linear style, and Hogarth’s moral purpose was hammered home through verses by the same author, the artist’s friend Reverend James Townley. Here Hogarth added a badge with the initials SG to Tom Nero’s jacket sleeve, indicating he is in the care of the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, the location represented in Gin Lane. Hogarth added another instance of torture behind the balustrade at right: two boys hold a bird, and one blinds it using a heated wire.

First Stage of Cruelty
Etching and engraving; first state of two
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

William Hogarth (1697–1764)
Gin Lane
Copper plate (etched and engraved)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1921, 21.55.3