I drew out my hanger

Artist: Thomas Morten (1836-66)

Engraver: W. J. Linton


Wood engraving

7½ x 5½ inches.

Illustration for Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, p.108

The aberrant as spectacle, with a grotesque crowd scrutinizing Gulliver as a diminutive freak-show in Brobdingnag. Here, though, the artist changes the terms of engagement so that the faces of the crowd are far more strange and disturbing than the hero’s perfect figure. The tiny inhabitants of Lilliput in Book I advance Swift's satire of contemporary British politics by having six-inch people jostle for power in ridiculous ways. Here Swift uses size differently, showing the grosser aspects of human physicality, most famously in Gulliver's sight of the blemishes on a woman's (to him) gigantic breast. In this plate the tiny The heads, which descend from Hogarth's grotesques, seem to be in flux and transformation as we look at them and have a dream-like quality that prefigure the art of the Belgian surrealist, James Ensor (1860–1949).