Room Six: William Hogarth

William Hogarth (1697-1764) was one of several engravers invited to present illustrations for J. and R. Tonson's edition of Don Quixote (1738). By 1720 Hogarth was engraving on copper and began to produce illustrations for a number of books, among the best of which accompanied the 1726 edition of Samuel Butler's Hudibras. Plans for the Tonson edition, under the patronage and control of Lord Carteret, had been discussed at least since the late 1720s, and Hogarth submitted a series of six designs during this time. For reasons still unclear, his illustrations were not accepted, and perhaps were even rejected in favor of John Vanderbank's engravings. At least one scholar has speculated that Hogarth was not pleased with the control exerted over the project by Carteret and his agent Oldfield, and may have withdrawn his designs to pursue other projects.

Five of the six engravings illustrate episodes from Part I of Don Quixote; the sixth, "Sancho's Feast," refers to an episode in Part II, Chapter 47. In "Don Quixote releases the Galley Slaves," (shown above) Hogarth carefully follows the novel in his protrayal of the episode (Part I, Chapter 22). Don Quixote has just knocked one of the guards to the ground, who lies on his back with his musket partially visible to the right. Sancho Panza intervenes to help release the thief Ginés de Pasamonte from his chains as the other prisoners struggle to free themselves. Ginés will soon seize the firearm and threaten the fleeing guards as well as Don Quixote and Sancho before escaping into the nearby forests.

Vanderbank illustrates the episode before the galley slaves are freed, portraying a relatively static scene before the violence erupts.

In the second engraving, "The unfortunate Knight of the Rock meeting Don Quixote" (Part I, Chapters 23-24, shown above), Hogarth illustrates the encounter between Don Quixote and Cardenio, who in the novel is called the "Knight of the Rueful Countenance," and is described as having a black beard and unkempt hair. Hogarth removes Cardenio's beard, but in other details follows the original narrative. Cardenio has descended from a rocky peak; Don Quixote has already dismounted from his horse to greet him. The actual moment that Hogarth portrays occurs after Cardenio has offended Don Quixote by alluding to an illicit sexual relationship between Queen Madásima and her physician Elisabat, two characters from a romance of chivalry. Sancho is preparing to defend his master with the goatherd looking on.

Hayman's illustration of the episode in Smollett's edition is based on the end of Chapter 24, after Cardenio has attacked Don Quixote, Sancho and the goatherd, and prepares to return to the "thickets from whence he came."