Framed pair of the 1756 lifetime edition, pair of uncoloured etchings, slight spotting, each approximately 315 x 385mm, mounted, framed and glazed, William Hogarth's original engraving, 'The Invasion: France' is the first plate from his set of two original engravings created in 1756. 'The Invasion' represents one of his most didactic sets of engravings. Created at the beginning of the French and Indian War (also termed the Seven Year's War) an invasion from France seemed probable. William Hogarth thus used this pair of engravings ('France' Plate I & 'England' Plate II), to boost public morale. His friend, David Garrick, wrote the verses appearing along the lower margin of this engraving.
In the foreground a French monk sharpens his executioner's axe. In front of him are implements of torture, a statue of St. Anthony and a 'Plan pour un Monastere dans Black Friars a Londre'. With such items he is preparing to convert the British to Catholicism. Behind him is a grouping of French soldiers, representing such states as starvation and fanaticism. One better dressed soldier (perhaps an officer) roasts frogs on his sword and points to the flag behind him which contains the words, 'Vengeance et le Bon Bier et Bon Beuf de Angletere'. Behind them is an inn bearing the name on the sign, 'Soup Meagre a la Sabot Royal'. In the background women plough the fields while there husbands are forced to board a ship at the point of a lance.
Not surprisingly, 'England' stands as a direct contrast to 'France'. Everyone in this engraving is healthy, happy and prosperous. Against a tavern's wall a soldier has drawn a caricature of the French King, who says, 'You take my fine ships, you be de Pirate, you be de Teef, me send my grand Armies & hang you all, Morblu.' The sign hanging on the tavern promises beef 'Roast & Boil'd every Day'. Thus a large beefsteak sits on the table along with a mug of beer. A sword rests upon the beef and a pistol sits atop the beer mug. The French will never taste England's prized produce.
The Invasion: was both designed and engraved by William Hogarth.