Although the present drawing is stylistically close in style to John Collet (1725-1780) it has not been possible to conclusively identify the artist. The print, a copy of which is in the collection of the Library of Congress, Washington, is entitled Modern Reformers. It was published by an Act of Parliament, however the artist, date or publisher are not recorded. Underneath are engraved the lines 'Have ye not read in the Law how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have MERCY & not SACRIFICE, ye would not have condemned the guiltless' (Matthew XII, vv. 5, 7).
Clearly the present drawing and its engraving follow the satirical tradition of William Hogarth (1679-1764). A smartly dressed man, with a book entitled Piety is picking the pocket of the coat in the foreground, while the attention is focused on a young woman, her child clinging to her, who is being roughly dragged away. Meanwhile the gin seller does a roaring trade in the background, and a popular preacher berates the crowd.
We are grateful to Rosemary Baker for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.