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SM P53. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photo: Art UK

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

The Humours of an Election I: An Election Entertainment

1754-55

Oil on canvas

Height: 101cm
Width: 128cm

Museum number: P53

Curatorial note

An Introduction to The Humours of an Election
Paintings in series
The Humours of an Election, (1754-55) comprises just four paintings, unlike the earlier series also owned by Soane, A Rake’s Progress (1734), which has eight scenes. Larger and infinitely more assured works, An Election is widely thought to be the most finely painted of Hogarth’s series of ‘Modern Moral Subjects’. In his Autobiographical Notes, Hogarth claimed credit for inventing, in the 1730s, the genre of painted pictorial sequences that told a story: ‘[I] turn[ed] my thoughts to still a more new way of proceeding, viz painting and Engraving moder[n] moral Subject[s] a Field unbroke up in any Country or any age.’ They were innovative because the pictorial narratives showed aspects of contemporary eighteenth-century life in series, though there were Italian engraved precedents. The Humours of an Election was the last of these series that Hogarth painted and its subject matter - the corruption endemic in the eighteenth-century electoral process - is part of an established history of political satire in Britain.1

From painting to engraving
As with A Rake’s Progress the paintings of An Election were essentially preparatory works for engravings which Hogarth sold in sets, a lucrative practice. But the fact that they are so highly finished suggests that he hoped to sell them independently. The subscription for An Election was announced in March 1754 and the first plate advertised as ready for subscribers in February 1755. Dissatisfied with his own attempts to engrave the first scene, he employed French engravers and the last three plates were not issued until 1758. In February 1757 Hogarth announced in The London Evening Post that he was ‘obliged to inform the Subscribers to his Election Prints, That the three last cannot be publish’d till about Christmas next, which Delay is entirely owing to the Difficulties he has met with to procure able Hands to engrave the Plates.’2

Purchase and location
Like many of Soane’s purchases, The Humours of an Election had a significant provenance that enhanced the paintings’ value in his eyes.3 They previously belonged to David Garrick, one of the foremost Shakespearean actors of his day, whom Soane greatly admired, becoming a founding member of the Garrick Club.4 The paintings’ elaborate Rococo style frames are fine mid-eighteenth-century examples. It is not known whether they were commissioned by Hogarth himself, or by Garrick. If the latter he may have consulted Hogarth as the two were great friends. If the former the frames could be tentatively attributed to the only framers documented to have worked for Hogarth, the Gossett family, either Gideon Gossett (fl. 1744 - d. 1785) or Isaac Gosset (1713 - 1799), as their elaborate form is more consistent with French Huguenot carvers than English artisans.5

Soane bought An Election in June 1823 from the sale of the effects of Mrs Garrick at Christie's. John Britton recounted the story of the purchase in 1827: ‘This set of pictures ... was purchased by Mr. Garrick of the artist, under peculiar circumstances, for a small sum, - about two hundred pounds, and bought by Mr. Soane at the dispersion of that eminent actor’s effects, in June 1823, for £1,732. The learned and accomplished auctioneer [James Christie the Younger], when he knocked down the lot, neatly and appropriately remarked to this effect: - "As Returning Officer, I have the honour of declaring John Soane Esq. is the successful candidate in this warmly contested Election"’.6 The purchase price of £1,650 guineas, or £1,732 10s 0d reflects the very fine standard of the paintings. By comparison Soane would purchase the house at 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 14 October 1823 for less, just £1,480.7 It is tempting to believe that the large canvases in their grand frames were at least partially responsible for Soane’s purchase of number 14: there was no obvious place for such large works elsewhere in his house and his first action was to build the Picture Room to the rear of the property, where the paintings still hang to this day in their original positions on the north and south planes.

The political context
The late seventeenth and early eighteenth century saw Britain governed by a constitutional Monarchy. Within parliament Members were aligned with one of two loose ‘parties’: ‘Whig’ or ‘Tory’, unless they were consciously ‘Independent’. In simple terms Toryism became identified with Anglicanism (particularly the high Church with its whiff of Catholicism and inferred Jacobitism) and the squirearchy, a term which describes small-to medium-scale country landowners. Whigs were associated with the Protestant Succession, a policy of taxation, tolerance of religious dissenters, aristocratic landowning families and the financial interests of the wealthy middle classes.8 However, this simplification ignores the fact that during the first half of the eighteenth century these groups were not always clearly defined and their policies were not always as distinct from each other as in modern political parties: alternative or multiple interests and allegiances were possible. For example, whether ‘Whig’ or ‘Tory’, it was not unusual to also be allied to a ‘Court’ or ‘Country’ interest. A ‘Court’ interest in the House of Commons comprised those Members whose first loyalty was to the monarch and his or her ministers, and not to a party or faction. A ‘Country’ interest suggested opposition to the administration and defending the true interests of the kingdom - preservation of liberty and the establishment of frugal and honest government - against the self-interested machinations of corrupt courtiers.9

In addition to ‘parties’ or ‘interests’ the wealth, status and patronage of individual grandees, or kinship groups (many of the ruling families were inter-related) could be what drew MPs to one faction or another in Parliament. Patronage also reached beyond the House of Commons. Patronage and client networks linked nobles wielding national influence and enjoying access to the monarch, to local notables10 and to the common elector. An elector might align himself with the group that could offer him the most in return, be that a position of power within the administration, money, gifts, or simply local employment. With political ideals shifting and multiple interests at play, arguably the most constant element within early eighteenth-century politics was the notion of patronage, which was generally only a step away from corruption.

The Humours of an Election is a satire on the parlous state of the political nation in mid-eighteenth-century Britain, specifically parodying the 1754 Oxfordshire county election. Between 1710 and 1754 Oxfordshire was a Tory stronghold and the two parliamentary seats were not contested. In 1754 two Whig candidates, Sir Edward Turner and Lord Parker, supported by Whig grandees the Duke of Marlborough and Lords Macclesfield and Harcourt stood for parliament against the incumbent Tory MPs, Lord Wenman and Sir James Dashwood. After forty years without contest the Oxfordshire election became a talking point. According to The London Evening Post ‘every British Heart is full of the Oxfordshire Election which is become the chief subject of Conversation in the remotest corners of the Island.’11

In the 1750s votes were made in public and recorded for posterity.12 The right to vote was limited to men, according to specific criteria depending upon whether they lived in a county or a borough. In the counties the ancient forty-shilling freeholder franchise prevailed: the vote belonged to those with freehold property worth £2 [40 shillings] or more.13 In Oxfordshire this equated to an electorate of around 4,00014 and these eligible men expected to have their vote bought by the candidates and their patrons. The Oxfordshire election became a byword for bribery, corruption and foul play. It was ‘probably the most notorious county election of the century: no expense or chicanery was spared by either side.’15 Henry Pelham, then the Prime Minister, ‘with the King’s consent and knowledge’, promised £7,000 towards the Whigs’ election expenses, and the Tories spent over £20,000—of which over £8,000 was raised by public subscription.16

Four stages of the political process
Hogarth captures four elements of the election process in his paintings: the elaborate entertainment of the townsfolk to win their support, the flagrant bribery of the country electors, the shenanigans associated with polling day itself and the ‘chairing’ of the winners through the town. Collectively the paintings depict the chaotic consequences of a political system built on the mutual avarice and dishonesty of both the candidates and the electorate. The pictures are typically Hogarthian: intelligent, intricate and rich with allusion. Yet, despite their complexity, through their use of humour, familiar locations and stereotypical characters, they effortlessly lay bare the networks of patronage and corruption which sustained the eighteenth-century political system.

An Election Entertainment
An inn in the fictional town of Guzzledown is the setting for the first scene, An Election Entertainment, which Hogarth displayed in his studio just days before the General Election in April 1754.17 It is a complex, densely populated scene full of absurdity, chaos, coercion, greed and violence.

The two Whig parliamentary candidates have gathered together the town’s few eligible voters to offer them an ‘entertainment’ - effectively a bribe - hoping to induce them to vote for the Whig party. The party’s motto ‘Liberty and Loyalty’ is emblazoned on an orange flag on the left of the painting whilst its colours, small orange rosettes, are piled on a table in the left foreground, worn by some of the attendees and fixed to the walls.18 Orange was probably chosen in reference to William of Orange (1650-1702) whose portrait is on the wall to the left of the window and to whose supporters the term Whig was originally applied in the 1680s.The fact that the portrait has been slashed suggests that the room had previously been rented by the Tories, the opposing party, for their entertainment, and that both factions were equally prepared to bribe the electorate.

The candidates are seen on the left, indicated by the laurels fixed to their chairs. The younger, most exquisitely dressed, is wearing a blue velvet coat with gold braid, fine lace at his cuffs and throat, a black necktie and a neatly curled white wig. The associated print gives his name as ‘Sir Commodity Taxem, Bart.’, a reference to the Whig’s excise laws. His finery, slender figure and pink-and-white complexion contrast with the rotund form, homely clothing and coarse, bulbous features of the local woman whose embrace and conversation he is suffering. Standing above them the woman’s husband, wearing a coachman’s wig, his pipe at risk of setting the candidate’s hair on fire, presses his wife and the candidate close together as their daughter stares open-mouthed at the candidate’s diamond ring. The other candidate, seated behind the first, in rich, but more countrified clothing, a dark olive coat with gold braid to the sleeves and front and a longer grey wig, is equally being importuned by a dribbling drunk, whose face is scratched, presumably from brawling with Tories. A foolish-looking man, a cobbler according to the leather apron he wears, clasps the second candidate’s hand in a gesture of drunken allegiance. In almost no other situation would tradesmen be able to engage so familiarly and in close proximity with gentlemen of such elevated social status but in pursuit of votes the usual social conventions are abandoned by all.

The feast is redolent of the gluttony and greed of those around the table. Beneath the painting of William III an enormously fat cleric, sweating from overeating, has removed his wig. In front of him is a stripped ham bone, his own chafing dish with gravy and bread and a bottle of ‘Champaign’ [champagne]. At the opposite end of the table to the candidates is the mayor, his black-trimmed red robe slipping off his shoulders as he sits slumped in his chair. He is being bled following his collapse after gorging himself on oysters. Eighteenth-century wisdom dictated that the removal of a pint of blood would also remove any sickness in the body but in fact no blood is dripping into the barber-surgeon’s bowl and the mayor is a disturbing shade of blue: he was considered to have eaten himself to death by Hogarth’s contemporaries.19 To the right of the mayor sits a plainly dressed man, crippled by gout, probably caused by excessive drinking and possibly, by the wide-eyed look on his face, in need of the chamber pot being emptied out of the window behind him. In contrast to the detritus on the table, on the floor in the foreground in front of the mayor is an inviting arrangement of lobsters, oysters, root vegetables, pewter plates and a jug, a scene within a scene, a very finely executed diminutive Dutch-style still-life recalling the feasting pictures of the Netherlandish school to which the painting is indebted.20

The scene reflects the violence often associated with the process of electioneering during this period. Outside the window Tory supporters are marching and waving banners, promoting their cause and attempting to disrupt the Whig treat. The placard ‘No Jews’ refers to the Jewish Naturalisation Act of 1753 which was repealed due to Tory opposition. ‘Marry and Multiply in spite of the Devil’ refers to the Marriage Act, also of 1753, which rendered marriages not conducted along the proper lines illegal. Some of the Tories, wearing blue rosettes, are using sticks in an effort to attack the Whigs through the window and are only held at bay by having the contents of the chamber pot poured over them. Two bricks have been thrown through the window; one has knocked the Whig party Secretary backwards, he hovers in suspended animation about to fall to the floor, along with the ledger he has been keeping recording ‘Sure Votes’ of which there is only one and ‘Doubtful Votes’ of which there are many. To the left of the secretary, seated in the foreground are two ‘bruisers’ employed by the Whigs to extort promises of votes by force as indicated by the bulb-headed staff one is leaning on. He has been wounded in the course of his ‘duty’ and is fortifying himself with a tot of gin whilst his brother-in-arms, a butcher by trade given the sharpening tool swinging from his belt, pours alcohol straight from a bottle to clean his colleague’s head wound. The Whig bruisers have captured a banner from the Tory mob with the words ‘Give us our Eleven Days’ on it. The phrase refers to the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, opposed by the Tories, which involved omitting eleven days of September. Many poorly educated people thought that the government were ‘stealing’ eleven days of their lives and rioted to win their re-instatement.21 Violence was not only deployed within the electoral process to win votes but was also one of the few ways the largely unenfranchised population could record their displeasure with those who governed them.

The scene depicts numerous corrupt practices that the opportunistic electors and unscrupulous political parties employed whilst electioneering. Behind the candidates stands a beautiful young woman wearing a blue cloak and straw hat decorated with the Whig colours. She is being given a snuffbox by a red-coated soldier who is simultaneously shaking hands with a rubicund and drunken alderman. An alderman standing behind her raises his glass over the woman’s head in a lewd toast; the inference is that the girl’s sexual favours have been traded for a vote. In the foreground on the left of the picture is Abel Squat, whose name we know from an inscription in the associated print.22 In contrast to the stereotypical image of Quakers as scrupulous businessmen, he is a fat, deeply unappealing man in typical plain Quaker dress, with a bulbous nose, hooded eyes, red cheeks, bleary eyes, double chin and large, plump, gnarled hands with filthy fingernails. He sits before a table piled high with gloves and stockings to be used as gifts for the wives of potential voters ‘To make their interest sure and steady; For right and well their Honours know, What things the petticoat can do.’23 Squat gloomily reads a paper ‘I promise to pay to / ….[illeg.] of 20 pounds six / months after date / R Pention’, recognising he will have to wait for his ‘pension’ or reward.24 On the opposite side of the canvas is another dissident, in the garb of a Puritanical tailor, grey, gaunt and hollow-eyed, his hands together in prayer rather than reaching out for the hand full of gold coins one of the Whig agents is offering him. He is the only person in the room who remains aloof from the greed, violence and corruption and is presented as suffering for, rather than benefiting from his honesty: he is clearly underfed and his son’s toes protrude from his shoes. His wife chastises him as described in a poem apparently sanctioned by Hogarth ‘Thou Blockhead! gold refuse, when here’s your child in want of shoes?’25

Interspersed between the evidently corrupt or vicious or gluttonous characters are a lesser, though no less well-executed, chorus of vacuous jolly fools whose high-spirited revelry, lubricated by alcohol, adds to the humour of the scene. The company is serenaded by a disparate band of musicians. The rhythm set by the female with the fiddle - apparently a portrait of ‘Fiddling Nan’ who was well-known in Oxfordshire - is seemingly disdained by the double bass player, the viol player has stopped playing to flatter an effeminate-looking gentleman in the hope of being offered a free glass of wine and the bagpipe player is playing the ‘Scotch Fiddle’, that is to say scratching for fleas. Seated in front of the musicians alongside the effete gentleman are a trio of rustic countrymen gawping either at the bricks flying through the window or the attempts of a tipsy gentleman to entertain them. This gentleman is, according to Hogarth,26 a portrait of Sir John Parnell, an Irish MP who asked for his likeness to be included. Apparently singing the ballad ‘An old woman clothed in grey’ whose first line is ‘Down, down with political fools …’27 his hand puppet is also mocking his neighbour’s pained facial expression.

The composition of An Election Entertainment has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.28 The pervasive corruption demonstrated in the painting also recalls the theme of that work “‘He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me” referring to the candidates but also to the electorate.’29 Notwithstanding this the comic vignettes within the complex and energetic composition give it humorous overtones, less evident in the second third and fourth scenes, which present an increasingly despondent view of mid-eighteenth-century electoral practices.

This catalogue entry was prepared by Joanna Tinworth in October 2021. Sir John Soane's Museum is grateful to Emeritus Professor David Bindman for his peer review.


Footnotes
1 For example a print of 1727 entitled Ready Mony the prevailing candidate, or the Humours of an Election held the General Election of that year to account, BM 1868,0808.3520. The 1734 poem The Humours of a Country Election was prefaced by six scenes depicting its narrative, BM 1858,0417.607. Two of these, like Hogarth’s composition for scenes two and four of An Election, show bribery taking place in front of an inn and the practice of chairing the winning candidates through the town.
2 Ronald Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic Works, 1989, pp.162-63.
3 See the provenance field for this catalogue entry.
4 Soane also owned Garrick’s copy of Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare, 1766, SM 1528. It was bought by Soane from T. & W. Boone on 3 May 1823 for £25 4s. plus £1 5s. commission following the Garrick sale on 23 April 1823. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.5.5). Inscribed in pencil on first free-endpaper in William Boone's hand This Book was the Gem of Garrick's / sale, and doubtless the finest copy / extant. / Only 12 copies were printed on this / Paper. David Garrick's engraved bookplate is in each volume.
5 Christina Scull, The Soane Hogarths, 2007, p.70.
6 John Britton, The Union of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting, 1827, p.55.
7 Gillian Darley, John Soane, An Accidental Romantic, 1999, p.268 and SM Journal 6.
8 https://www.britannica.com/topic/Whig-Party-England
9 D.W. Hayton, Eveline Cruickshanks and Stuart Handley, ed. ‘The Politics of the House’, The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, 2002
10 Jeremy Black, The politics of Britain 1688-1800, 1993, p.26.
11 Mark Hallett and Christine Riding, Hogarth, Exhibition Catalogue, Tate, 2006, p. 228 quotes The London Evening Post, 30 April - 2 May 1754.
12 It wasn’t until 1872 that the passing of The Ballot Act enforced voting in parliamentary and municipal elections by secret ballot.
13 https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/research/constituencies/constituencies-1754-1790
14 Christina Scull, The Soane Hogarths, 2007, p. 25.
15 R. J. Robson, The Oxfordshire Election of 1754, 1949.
16 https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/constituencies/oxfordshire
17 Hogarth produced the other three paintings over the course of 1754-55. For the display of the paintings in the studio see Mark Hallett and Christine Riding, Hogarth, Exhibition Catalogue, Tate, 2006, p. 228. For the date of the general election see Louis Namier and John Brooke, eds,The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, 1964.
18 The Whig’s party colours were actually blue and buff, a tan colour.
19 Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, p.318.
20 Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, p.318 quotes Mary Webster, Hogarth, 1979.
21 Robert Poole, "Give Us Our Eleven Days!": Calendar Reform in Eighteenth-Century England, Past & Present
No. 149 (Nov., 1995), p.95 quotes James Scarlett, recalling in 1820 ‘The ridiculous folly of a mob had been exemplified in a most humorous manner by that eminent painter, Mr Hogarth. It was found necessary many years ago, in order to prevent a confusion in the reckoning of time, to knock eleven days out of the calendar, and it was supposed by ignorant persons that the legislature had actually deprived them of eleven days of their existence. This ridiculous idea was finely exposed in Mr Hogarth’s picture.'
22 The print associated with the painting was very much re-worked by Hogarth by comparison with the canvas and is the only one of the four engravings not to be ‘reversed’. The print gives the name of the Quaker on the promisary note. ‘April 1 1754 I promise to pay to Abel Squat the Sum of Fifty Pounds six months after date Value Re[cei]ved Rich[ard] Slim.’ BM 1850,0810.523
23 John Smith, A Poetical Description of Mr. Hogarth's Election Prints; In Four Cantos. Written Under Mr. Hogarth's Sanction and Inspection, 1759, p.3.
24 Dr Johnson’s dictionary of 1755 records that in England a pension ‘is generally understood to mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country’.
25 John Smith, A Poetical Description of Mr. Hogarth's Election Prints; In Four Cantos. Written Under Mr. Hogarth's Sanction and Inspection, 1759. The prefatory Advertisement is signed by John Smith, who states that he is writing on behalf of the "concealed Author," and that while Hogarth's paintings have been explained by others, "none ever gave him [Hogarth] so much satisfaction as the present Performance."
26 John B. Nichols, Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1781, p.335.
27 Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, p.318, fn.8.
28 Frederick Antal, Hogarth and His Place in European Art, 1962. p.140. Also E. Wind, ‘Borrowed Attitudes in Reynolds and Hogarth’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 2, 1938-39, p.184. Recent scholarship has placed less focus on this comparison.
29 Ronald Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic Works, 1989, p.165 quotes Matthew, chapter 26, verse 23.

Provenance help-art-provenance

William Hogarth sold The Humours of an Election directly to his friend, the actor David Garrick.1 Garrick subscribed to a set of engravings of An Election but instead bought the four paintings in around 17622 for the rather low price of about £200.3 Soane purchased An Election from the sale of the effects of Mrs Garrick at Christie's on 23 June 1823. The preamble to the Garrick sale catalogue announces that the effects have been '... brought from the mansion of Mrs Garrick deceased on the Adelphi Terrace and from his villa at Hampton', and mentions 'MORE ESPECIALLY the very famous Original Set of the FOUR ELECTION PICTURES by HOGARTH, the Canvass, the Poll, the Chairing and the Feast, admirable for the variety and strength and spirit of Execution'.

In contrast to Garrick around 60 years earlier, Soane paid a large sum for the canvases. Soane’s notebook records: ‘At Christie’s bought Hogarth Elect.n 1,650 gns’. The purchase price of £1650 guineas equated to £1,732 10s 0d.

Footnotes
1 Hogarth painted a portrait of David Garrick as Richard III (1745), the role that made the then twenty-four-year-old actor famous. The portrait is now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. The artist and actor became firm friends. In 1757 Hogarth painted David Garrick and his wife, Eva-Maria Veigel. See Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, pp.274-75, 337-38.
2 Bruce Boucher, ‘Soane and Hogarth’ in David Bindman (ed.), Hogarth: Place and Progress, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum, p.19 and Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, p.316.
3 John Britton, The Union of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting, 1827, p.55.

Literature

John B. Nichols, Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1781, revised eds. 1782, 1785
John Ireland, Hogarth Illustrated, 3 vols: 1 and 2, 1791 and 1793 (2nd ed.); 3 (supplement), 1798
John Nichols and George Steevens, The Genuine Works of William Hogarth, 3 vols: 1, 1808; 2, 1810; 3, 1817
Britton, Union, 1827, pp. 40, 53-55
Soane, Description, 1830, pp. 15 and 41
Soane, Description, 1835, pp. 16-17
Peter Quennell, 'Hogarth's Election series', History Today, Volume 3, Issue 4, April 1953 (available online at www.historytoday.com/archive)
Paulson, Ronald, Hogarth: His Life, Art and Times, 1971, vol. II, pp. 191-206 and passim
Bindman, David, Hogarth, 1981, pp. 185-189 and passim
Elizabeth Einberg, Manners and Morals: Hogarth and British Painting 1700-1760, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, 1987, cats. 196-199, pp. 209-215
Ronald Paulson, Hogarth's Graphic Works, 1989, pp. 162-169
Christina Scull, The Soane Hogarths, 1991
Peter Thornton and Helen Dorey, A Miscellany of Objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, 1992, pp. VIII, 44, 126, fig. 38
Ronald Paulson, Hogarth, 1993, Vol. III, pp. 152-184 and passim
David Bindman, Hogarth and his Times: Serious Comedy, Exhibition Catalogue, British Museum, 1997
Lars Tharp, Hogarth's China: Hogarth's paintings and 18th-century ceramics, 1997, pp. 103-105
Jenny Uglow, Hogarth: A Life and a World, 1997, pp. 548-561 and passim
Gillian Darley, John Soane, An Accidental Romantic, 1999
Matthew Craske, William Hogarth, 2000, passim
David Bindman, David Ekserjian and William Palin (eds), Hogarth's Election Entertainment. Artists at the Hustings, exhibition catalogue published by Apollo for Sir John Soane's Museum, 2001
Mark Hallett and Christine Riding, Hogarth, exhibition catalogue, Tate, 2006, cats. 120-123, pp. 228-231
Christina Scull, The Soane Hogarths, second revised edition, 2007, pp. 51-63 and passim
New Description, 2007, pp. 26-30 and 100
Elizabeth Einberg, William Hogarth, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, 2016, pp. 316-324
David Bindman (ed.), Hogarth: Place and Progress, SJSM Exhibition Catalogue, 2019, cats. 52-55
Bruce Boucher, 'Soane and Hogarth' in David Bindman (ed.), Hogarth: Place and Progress, SJSM Exhibition Catalogue, 2019, pp. 17-23
Joanna Tinworth, 'Life in Hogarth's London', Minerva, September/October 2019, pp. 40-45
Jacqueline Riding, Hogarth: Life in Progress, 2021
For a suggestion that the hat behind the head of the female fiddler is placed like a halo to suggest a link with St Cecilia, patron saint of music, and that the scene was intended to reference the Last Supper see Robert L S Cowley 'True of False: The haloes of William Hogarth *1697-1764)' in The British Art Journal Vol. XXII, No. 1, Spring/Summer 2021, pp.42-47.

Exhibition history

Hogarth's Election Entertainment: Artists at the Hustings, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 23 March - 25 August 2001; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, 6 October 2001 - 6 January 2002
Hogarth: Place and Progress, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 9 October 2019 - 5 January 2020
Hogarth, Tate Britain, London, 2 December 1971 - 6 February 1972
Hogarth, Tate Britain, London, 5 February - 29 April 2007
Manners & Morals - Hogarth and British Painting 1700-1760, Tate Britain, London, 15 October 1987 - 3 January 1988
The Soane Hogarths, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 30 March - 19 June 2004; 26 August 2005 - 25 February 2006

Associated objects

P56, series
P73, series
P78, series
P53, series
O2095, provenance


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