Gate of Calais or the Roast Beef of old England

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Gate of Calais or the Roast Beef of old England
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William Hogarth
Gate of Calais or The Roast Beef of Old England.
London, J. Boydell 1809
Copper engraving
Hogarth's comparison between the starving French of Calais and the
traditional roast beef of England. We are looking into the town of Calais through a gate in the walls shaped like a gaping mouth with jagged teeth. Only the friar in the centre of the design is fat, all the other denizens of the town are ragged and emaciated, including the cook who staggers along carrying a huge sirloin of beef destined for the English Hotel. Typical French fare is demonstrated by the market women huddled in the bottom left corner, with their Lenten food of fish and vegetables and the starving Highlander (a refugee from the ’45) gnawing an onion in the gateway. Through the gate a religious procession can be seen carrying the Host to the dying, the implication being that this the only time the French get a free meal, and the wary figure of Hogarth himself, peeping out from behind the sentry box on the left, cautiously sketching the scene (he had been arrested as a spy). The painting is now the centre of an display entitled ‘Roast Beef’ at the Tate Britain Gallery, Millbank.  Paulson 180.