zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
Michael Kimmelman, in a November 30, 1997 NYT review of Jenny Uglow's Hogarth:


This extravagantly detailed biography by Jenny Uglow is less a book of art history than a history of Hogarth's milieu. Much of his character, and the book's, is encapsulated in the colorful story Uglow recounts of a woman named Mary Tofts, who claimed to have become so obsessed with rabbits after failing to catch several of them in a field she was weeding that she suffered a miscarriage and began to deliver animals and animal parts. Fashionable medical men verified her story, among them a certain Nathanael St. Andre, a Swiss who was Anatomist to the Royal Household and a teacher of fencing and dancing before he took up surgery, who announced that he had personally delivered her of several rabbits.

This put Londoners off rabbit stew for a while. Then Mary conceded the hoax and St. Andre was forced to make a public apology. It was the sort of ripe event that Hogarth, like any tabloid cartoonist today, couldn't resist: absurd, bawdy, a perfect opportunity to skewer self-proclaimed experts like St. Andre and his fellow quacks, and also to strike a blow against mystification, which Hogarth despised in all forms, whether from doctors or politicians or art critics. His print "Cunicularii," or "The Rabbit Warren," sold briskly.

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