This is a very characteristic Portrait of Mr. Tilson, formerly a Laceman in the Strand.
This Quidnunc, who paid more attention to the affairs of the Nation than to his own shop, is represented as holding a candle in his right-hand, and eagerly inspecting an Evening Newspaper. Deeply interested in the intelligence it contains, concerning the flames that rage on the Continent, he is totally insensible of domestic dangers, and regardless of the flame which is ascending to his hat. From the tie-wig, stockings, high-quartered shoes, and sword, it probably was painted about 1730, when street-robberies were so frequent in the Metropolis, that it was customary for men in trade to wear swords to defend their pockets.
The original sketch in oil, Hogarth presented to his intimate friend, Mr. Forrest. It was etched by J. K. Sherwin, and published by Mrs. Hogarth in 1775.