Exhibition of William Hogarth’s paintings

A major exhibition of the work of painter William Hogarth is coming to London this October. The famous 18th Century satirist, and Chiswick’s most famous resident (David Tennant and Colin Firth arguably excepted) will be celebrated by Sir John Sloane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The museum says the collection on show will unite his painted series for the first time ‘to examine his complex views on morality, the society and the city’.

‘All of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series will be united for the first time to examine his complex views on morality, the society and the city. The darkly satirical series of William Hogarth (1697-1764) have an enduring appeal today. Cutting through social conventions, they present with wit and humour the immorality and vice that Hogarth perceived in all classes of society.

‘Hogarth: Place and Progress will unite all of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series for the first time. The Museum’s own Rake’s Progress and An Election will be joined by Marriage A-la-Mode from the National Gallery, the Four Times of Day from the National Trust and a private collection, as well as the three surviving paintings of The Happy Marriage from Tate and the Royal Cornwall Museum. The exhibition will also include engraved series lent by Andrew Edmunds prints such as The Four Stages of Cruelty, Industry and Idleness and Gin Lane and Beer Street.

‘Hogarth’s narratives present a satirical take on the idea of ‘progress’. The principal characters flout conventional morality and so progress not towards spiritual enlightenment but to poverty, madness and death. London settings, still identifiable today, play a key role in these cautionary tales: in A Rake’s Progress, the Rake’s initial progression from the mercantile City of London to an extravagant West End mansion spirals to a brothel in Covent Garden, then ultimately to insanity and death in Bedlam madhouse, as a consequence of his dissolute lifestyle.

‘Displayed across the backdrop of Sir John Soane’s Museum, the exhibition will demonstrate how Hogarth’s ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ married the idea of progress with the moral geography of London, in a dynamic and evolving way throughout his own progress as an artist’.

Entrance to the exhibition is free, but booking is essential. Of particular note is the museum’s ‘Saturday Spotlight on Hogarth’ – an opportunity to view the exhibition after hours every Saturday evening from 6.00 – 9.00pm. Tickets include an introductory talk.

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See also: Visit William Hogarth’s house

See also: Hogarth – One Man and his Pug