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William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

The Chorus of Singers (or Rehearsal of the Oratorio ‘Judith’)

1732

Museum number: P24

Curatorial note

This small print served as a subscription ticket (costing 5 shillings) for Hogarth's engraving 'A Modern Midnight Conversation'. It shows seventeen men and boys rehearsing William Huggins' oratorio "Judith". The man on the far right was said by John Ireland to be William Tothall, a Covent Garden woollen-draper who was a close friend of Hogarth's. Tothall was one of the four friends who accompanied Hogarth on his famous five-day 'peregrination' around the Isle of Sheppey on the Kent coast in May 1732.

This picture has hung in its present position since at least 1830 when it is mentioned in Soane's first Description of his house. It is framed en suite with P24 in an eighteenth century 'Hogarth' frame and it seems likely that the two works entered Soane's collection together. Although P21 is an example of a subscription ticket for the engravings of A Rake's Progress there is no record that these two prints entered Soane's collection with the Rake's Progress paintings.

Ronald Paulson notes that impressions of this print were sold as one of a set of 'Four Groups of Heads' with 'The Laughing Audience' (see Soane Museum P21), 'Scholars at a Lecture' and 'The Company of Undertakers', issued in March 1736/7.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Unknown but in Soane's collection by 1830.

Literature

J. Soane, Description, 1832, p.xii
Helen Dorey, 'The Historic Framing and presentation of watercolours, drawings and prints at Sir John's Museum', in ed. Nancy Bell, Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours and Prints, Proceedings of the Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation June 1996, pp. 20-31


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk