Hogarth’s Britain

There are only 11 days left before the   Hogarth exhibition comes to an end at Tate Britain, and it is      definitely one not to miss. I popped in after my spot of auto blogging and found it stunning and mesmerising.

Is there a contemporary artist who portrays today’s life in the same way as Hogarth’s vivid images of drunkenness, debauchery, crime, political corruption, charity and patriotism?

Today’s artist would need to include drug addicts, Asbos, single mothers, Big Brother, footballers etc, …. and maybe even bloggers! 


  1. DSBridget Jones, It finishes 29 April and I know you will love it if you are a Hogarth fan, it totally swept me off my feet, I so wish I could see it again – but will it be as special second time round? Can that moment of elation and delight be felt again? I also recommend you hire the headphones, Andrew Marr gives some interesting reflections.

  2. darkersideofbridgetjones

    I love Hogarth! When does it finish. I really want to go. I saw one of his exhibitions about nine years ago.

  3. It’s funny. At one time, coffee was considered as something quite decadent, with Charles II banning it.

  4. electro-kevin

    Heather Yaxley is close to what I’m thinking – that the medium would be different today; Catherine Tate or Harry Enfield rather than serious documentary though.

  5. lol Elle, even the Jeremy Clarksons
    driving to Paris in three supercars
    the Will & kate split before marriage, save on messy divorces or divorce settlements

    Who are we missing, oh no – not Tony & Cherie
    No, not the iron lady, or William Hague or IDS
    How about bonnie charlie (kennedy) drunk on scotch
    And how about Mandelson dressed up in panto at the Rio carnival and the EU, now he would come as close to an outlandish Machiaveli – don’t you think

  6. Heather, it’s the facial expressions and Hogarth’s interpretation of life that I found so compelling, ie jouranlist John Wilkes who dared to be a critic of Hogarth’s soon found himself ridiculed for posterity. His satire is splendid and must have been very provocative for his time. I don’t think that same essence is captured on camera, it’s different. I love being able to stand and stare and scrutinise the fine detail which a documentary does not enable, though they are brilliant in many other ways.

    The pictures I have shown are two taken from the marriage a-la-mode series. The first on the left shows the marriage settlement being made between the Earl of Squander, who needs more money to fund his lavish lifestyle, and the alderman, who is buying his way into their family. Neither of the children are happy about it. The second picture shows the husband returning home late, the wife having stayed up playing cards and losing her money, the room in a mess – a very disenchanted loveless marriage that was doomed to fail.

  7. I love Hogarth’s series works, where the narrative between paintings is evident without any words. The little details are brilliant.

    Do you think he would paint if he were alive today though – wouldn’t he be more likely to be a documentary maker. If so, isn’t that where the modern Hogarths are to be found?

  8. Lee, Yes, Hogath did go to coffee shops, he painted The Conversation Piece in 1738, which shows some gentlemen having their coffee poured, the idea being that he wanted to show politeness in society.

    I would so love to go back and spend longer there, the pictures are so captivating. Do hire the tape, it is really worth it and helps bring the pictures alive. My friend Geoff was patiently waiting outside and after 1 1/2 hours, I felt I had to rush round at the end to catch the train back to Cambridge.

  9. Richard, Coffee shops would have been far too tame for Hogarth, he preferred gin houses.

    And Jeremy, “something for the weekend” used to mean a trip to the chemist for the lads in my youth. Hopefully you will make it to the exhibition and find it as thrilling as I did. 😉

  10. There must be, Ellee, but I can’t give you a name of one…I think I’ll have to do some research…you stirred my interest.

  11. Something for the weekend then.

  12. This is the sort of thing I really miss over here. We do have galleries but it’s the British ones I miss.

  13. Did Hogarth paint coffee shop scenes, the closest equivalent to a blogger’s astro-meet?

  14. I really wish I could see that exhibition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *