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An image of Credulity, superstition and fanaticism by William Hogarth

William Hogarth

(England 10 Nov 1697 – 25 or 26 October 1764)

Credulity, superstition and fanaticism
Media category
Materials used
etching and engraving

37.8 x 33.0 cm platemark

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
European Art Collection Benefactors' Fund 2011
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

This print started off as an elaborate satire on the ‘enthusiasm’ of Methodist preaching. Hogarth later revised the composition, extending it to a broader attack on ‘credulity, superstition and fanaticism’. The fainting woman on the left is Mary Tofts, who tricked people into believing she gave birth to rabbits. On the right, a religious thermometer measures the congregation’s reaction to the sermon. The preacher, holding puppets of a devil and a witch, is exposed as a charlatan by his harlequin shirt. His falling wig reveals a monastic tonsure, suggesting that Methodism and Popery amount to the same thing.

Bibliography (1)

Ronald Paulson, Hogarth's graphic works, New Haven, 1965. no.210

Exhibition history (1)

European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014