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The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings With Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency   By: (1735-1820)

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[Illustration: WILLIAM HOGARTH.]

THE WORKS OF WILLIAM HOGARTH;

IN A SERIES OF ENGRAVINGS: WITH DESCRIPTIONS, AND A COMMENT ON THEIR MORAL TENDENCY,

BY THE REV. JOHN TRUSLER.

TO WHICH ARE ADDED, ANECDOTES OF THE AUTHOR AND HIS WORKS, BY J. HOGARTH AND J. NICHOLS.

London: PUBLISHED BY JONES AND CO. TEMPLE OF THE MUSES, (LATE LACKINGTON'S,) FINSBURY SQUARE.

1833.

C. BAYNES, PRINTER, 13 DUKE STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.

THE LIFE OF HOGARTH.

William Hogarth is said to have been the descendant of a family originally from Kirby Thore, in Westmorland.

His grandfather was a plain yeoman, who possessed a small tenement in the vale of Bampton, a village about fifteen miles north of Kendal, in that county; and had three sons.

The eldest assisted his father in farming, and succeeded to his little freehold.

The second settled in Troutbeck, a village eight miles north west of Kendal, and was remarkable for his talent at provincial poetry.

Richard Hogarth, the third son, who was educated at St. Bees, and had kept a school in the same county, appears to have been a man of some learning. He came early to London, where he resumed his original occupation of a schoolmaster, in Ship court in the Old Bailey, and was occasionally employed as a corrector of the press.

Mr. Richard Hogarth married in London; and our artist, and his sisters, Mary and Anne, are believed to have been the only product of the marriage.

William Hogarth was born November 10, and baptised Nov. 28, 1697, in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great, in London; to which parish, it is said, in the Biographia Britannica, he was afterwards a benefactor.

The school of Hogarth's father, in 1712, was in the parish of St. Martin, Ludgate. In the register of that parish, therefore, the date of his death, it was natural to suppose, might be found; but the register has been searched to no purpose.

Hogarth seems to have received no other education than that of a mechanic, and his outset in life was unpropitious. Young Hogarth was bound apprentice to a silversmith (whose name was Gamble) of some eminence; by whom he was confined to that branch of the trade, which consists in engraving arms and cyphers upon the plate. While thus employed, he gradually acquired some knowledge of drawing; and, before his apprenticeship expired, he exhibited talent for caricature. "He felt the impulse of genius, and that it directed him to painting, though little apprised at that time of the mode Nature had intended he should pursue."

The following circumstance gave the first indication of the talents with which Hogarth afterwards proved himself to be so liberally endowed.

During his apprenticeship, he set out one Sunday, with two or three companions, on an excursion to Highgate. The weather being hot, they went into a public house; where they had not long been, before a quarrel arose between some persons in the same room; from words they soon got to blows, and the quart pots being the only missiles at hand, were sent flying about the room in glorious confusion. This was a scene too laughable for Hogarth to resist. He drew out his pencil, and produced on the spot one of the most ludicrous pieces that ever was seen; which exhibited likenesses not only of the combatants engaged in the affray, but also of the persons gathered round them, placed in grotesque attitudes, and heightened with character and points of humour.

On the expiration of his apprenticeship, he entered into the academy in St. Martin's Lane, and studied drawing from the life: but in this his proficiency was inconsiderable; nor would he ever have surpassed mediocrity as a painter, if he had not penetrated through external form to character and manners. "It was character, passions, the soul, that his genius was given him to copy."

The engraving of arms and shop bills seems to have been his first employment by which to obtain a decent livelihood... Continue reading book >>




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