The Four Stages of Cruelty

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The Four Stages of Cruelty
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William Hogarth

The Four Stages of Cruelty.

London, Baldwin, Cradock & Joy 1822

Copper engravings


Hogarth was perhaps the first Animal Rights campaigner. These engravings were intended to show how cruelty to animals leads to moral degeneration and murder. 1. First Stage of Cruelty. Boys being cruel to small animals. Paulson 187 II/II. 2. Second Stage of Cruelty. Men exploiting domestic animals. An overladen horse, a man kills a sheep in the street, bull baiting and a child is run over by a waggon. Paulson 188 Ia (intermediate state unrecorded by Paulson) II/II. 3. Cruelty in Perfection. Tom Nero has murdered his girlfriend by cutting her throat, after inducing her to steal her mistress's jewels, and is arrested by an angry mob when found standing over the body. Paulson 189 only state. 4. The Reward of Cruelty. This famous last plate in the series shows the body of the executed Tom Nero (the rope still around his neck) being dissected in the Surgeon's Theatre Old Bailey (conveniently close to Newgate Prison) by Hogarth's friend Dr John Freke of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Paulson 190 IIa (intermediate state unrecorded by Paulson) IV/ IV. Set of four plates £450