Hogarth – One Man and his Pug

Another local artist known for his subversive wit was William Hogarth, who sometimes featured his dog to inject humour into potentially pompous compositions.

His favourite canine companion was a pug called Trump, who appears alongside his master in several portraits and the statue by Jim Mathieson commemorating his life in Chiswick on the High Road.

Trump may be seen as the artist’s alter-ego – pugnacious, diminutive and comical looking and like Hogarth, pugs did not have an impressive pedigree. Sometimes Trump is included as a subtly subversive comic device in what would otherwise be a formal conversation piece. An example is the Strode family’s commission where Trump appears to be squaring up to the wealthy family’s well-bred dog.

Lars Tharp, best known as the ceramic expert on The Antiques Road Show, but is also a supporter of The Hogarth Trust and Hogarth’s House in Chiswick, presents a documentary on William Hogarth’s dog pug.

If you like catching sight of Chiswick landmarks on TV, the statue on the high road appears 16 minutes in and Hogarth’s House at 20 minutes.

Lars is looking for a terracotta sculpture by Roubilliac which was created to stand by a bust of his master, now on display at The National Portait Gallery. If you just happen to have this masterpiece by the greatest sculptor of his age tucked away in your attic, well lucky you, and please let Lars know via Hogarth.pug@bbc.co.uk.

It’s a fascinating story with a funny anecdote about the Freemasons, but I won’t spoil the surprise, as you can still see it on BBC Scotland here.

Hogarth’s House

Hogarth’s House is currently undergoing improvements which is why it is closed to the public until 25 March. The £2.3million Heritage Lottery Funded Mulberry Garden project includes the construction of a new learning studio adjoining the Grade 1 listed House, the conservation and repair of the historic garden wall and the creation of an ‘exhibition garden’, whose design and planting present the story of the site.