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.
etching and engraving
37.8 x 33.0 cm platemark
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
European Art Collection Benefactors' Fund 2011
Not on display
Shown in 1 exhibition
European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014