Inscribed and dated in plate, lower center: Invented Painted Engraved & Publish'd by Wm. Hogarth March the 3rd 1736. According to Act of Parliament. Price 3 Shillings.
Hogarth is best known for his prints that satirize eighteenth-century British society. In this moralizing engraving, a man struggles to concentrate on writing a poem entitled "On Poverty." Beside him are his pipe, tobacco, and books—small pleasures that distract him from the surrounding domestic chaos. The setting is a dirty and crudely furnished garret; his wife mends his clothing; a neglected baby cries in the bed; and a milkmaid with a long list of debts owed confronts him. This engraving was inspired by Alexander Pope’s poem The Dunciad (quoted in the inscription below), which pokes fun at a man who lives in poverty but is determined to pursue a literary career.
"Recent acquisitions", Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 14, no. 1 (1955): p. 17-19.