Paul Before Felix, "designed and etched in the ridiculous manner of Rembrandt"

Scope and Content

"Engraved by Hogarth, this comic print was originally given as a receipt for purchasers of the Pharoah's Daughter and the more serious Paul Before Felix engravings as well as being given to acquaintances who asked for them. "Design'd and Etch'd in the ridiculous manner of Rembrandt by Wm Hogarth. Publish'd according to act of Parliament May.1st.1751". Paul is represented as a vulgar character. The fat figure (Burgomaster) behind him, with wings, is a sleeping Guardian Angel. A mischievous demon is sawing the leg of Paul’s stool whilst a snarling dog stands furthest left with ‘FELIX’ on its collar. Felix himself sits trembling on a wicker chair with the Roman Eagle above him, Fascaes to his left and accompanied by Drusilla and her lap-dog. The High Priest with knife appears ready to leap from the Bench at Paul but is prevented by another figure. The Audience, male and female, young and old are typically Dutch in their representation. The Statue of Justice, with a bandage over only one eye, stands with a butcher’s knife and bags of gold, the reward of legal decisions. At a table beneath the Bench are four judges. The first is, mending a pen; the next two are disgusted by a foul smell, while the final judge is pointing at the cause, Felix, from which it emanates. A Hebrew of Shylock type is expanding his hands in astonishment, at the unguarded vehemence of the Preacher. Tertullus, dressed as a man of Law, irritated he tears his brief; which a Devil, pieces together. The vase and silver plates in a recess; the violent stream of light, which dazzles the eyes of a Priest who stands with his back to it; the boat, bark, and white sail; and a village and windmill in the distance, are all of Rembrant's School.