An interesting example of a satirical print engraved by the poet and printmaker William Blake (1757 – 1827) during the early years of his career. It is one of six plates that Blake produced after designs by Samuel Collings and Thomas Stothard for the short-lived Wit’s Magazine; Or, Library of Momus: Being a Compleat [sic] Repository of Mirth, Humour, and Entertainment, published by Harrison & Co. of Paternoster Row between January 1784 and January 1785.

The plate was produced to illustrate a humorous verse entitled Tythe in Kind; or the Sow’s Revenge which appeared in the February 1784 edition of The Wit’s Magazine. The verse tells the tale of a greedy parson who is attacked by a pig a humiliated in front of his parishioners whilst trying to claim a piglet in lieu of tithe payment. Both the rhyme and the image were probably inspired by The Tythe Pig; a popular anti-clerical satire of the 1750s which was reproduced extensively throughout the second half of the eighteenth-century.

Versions of the image were also adapted for use on decorative creamware and a number of different examples of both coloured and uncoloured copies are recorded in Drakard.

 

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