England and France, after William Hogarth published c1805
William Hogarth produced these prints to boost public morale when an invasion from France seemed probable.
Hogarth depicts the weak and emaciated army ready to invade England. The alehouse sign reading 'Meagre Soup at the Royal Comb' points this up. There is also an officer roasting four frogs on his sword. A further soldier carries a banner which reads 'Vengeance with the good beer and good beef of England'. There is also a portly monk (obviously the church folk won't be hungry), and he carries plans for a monastery to be built at Blackfriars.
In contrast he believed the English to be always well fed and always merry, despite the evidence of widespread poverty. Here a recruitment officer is shown measuring up a volunteer. The man has to stand on tiptoe to reach the required height. A round of beef and some porter is on the table in front of some revellers, one of whom is drawing a pastiche of the French King, who is uttering the words "You take my fine ships you bede pirate you bede Teef me send my grand armies and hang you all Morbleu."
£650 the set