Beggar's Opera. Act III

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Beggar's Opera. Act III
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William Blake after William Hogarth

Beggar’s Opera, Act III.

London, Baldwin Craddock & Joy 1822

Etching and copper engraving

460 x 585mm


William Blake’s (1757-1827) dramatic rendition, after Hogarth’s painting, of a performance of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera first performed at Lincon’s Inn Fields in 1728. The scene is Newgate gaol, Polly Peachum, played by Lavinia Fenton afterwards Duchess of Bolton (1708-60), kneels on the floor to the left of the design, while Lucy played by Mrs Egleton also kneels, pleading for the life of Macheath, played by Thomas Walker (1698-1744), who stands centre stage, with arms folded, wearing manacles. The painting was purchased by the Tate Gallery, London in 1909