Tag Archives: William Hogarth

Painters

While the list of costs for masons detailed by the Board of Works extends to over a hundred different jobs, that for painters is a bit simpler. Government rates were listed in “Contract Prices 1734—1774” (WORK 5/148). The page for painters has a number of additions and marginal notations added over the years; those are ignored here and I just reproduce the basic list of activities.

The list is interesting both for the prices the government was willing to pay for different jobs in the 1730s, but also as detailing what kinds of work they expected painters to do.  The Office of Works was in charge of the royal residences and the types of painting work that were used for a palace were not necessarily a reflection of everyday practices.

The most senior position to do with painting was the office of Sergeant Painter, held by William Hogarth from 1757 until his death in 1764. The office had a nominal salary of just £10 a year, but Hogarth himself claimed that he made more than £200 a year from it, and he had a deputy to oversee the actual work carried out.

s d
Pearl Colour three times done in Oyl per Yard 0.8
Ditto twice done per yard in Oyl 0.6
Wainscot Stone Lead & Cream Colour thrice done in Oyl per Yd 0.8
Ditto twice done per Yard 0.6
Green thrice done in Oyl per Yard 1.0
Ditto twice done Per Yard 0.9
Marble Wallnutt tree &c thrice done in Oyl per Yard 1.8
Varnishing Wainscot per Yard 0.9
Gilding per foot Superficial 4.0
Sash Treatment thrice done on one Side, Each 1.3
Sash Squares ditto on one Side, Each 0.1½
Window lights thrice done on one Side, Each 0.4
Sash Frames twice done on one Side Each 0.10
Sash Squares ditto on one Side, Each 0.1
Window Lights twice done on one Side, Each 0.3
Window Barrs Shutter Barrs &c per barr 0.1
Casements on both Sides Each 0.3½
Cleaning old Painting per Yard 0.1
Painting in Size per Yard 0.3

 

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Dinner at the Hospital

The Foundling Hospital played an important role in the developing community of artists in London in the 1740s and 1750s. Hogarth was the principal force behind this.  Back in 1740, Hogarth had donated his portrait of Captain Coram to the hospital, and in 1746 Hogarth, together with Rysbrack, suggested a plan to the Governors of the Hospital whereby artists, principally painters and sculptors, would donate work to decorate the (public) areas of the hospital, and, in return, would have their work seen by those sections of polite society who might commission more work from the artists.  The plan was approved and became a great success.  A committee was formed to meet annually on November 5 to oversee the donations.  Hogarth, Francis Hayman, Joseph Highmore, James Wills, Thomas Gainsborough, Samuel Wale, Richard Wilson, and more all donated works.

Hogarth_Captain Coram

As was frequently the case in eighteenth-century England, the annual business meeting of the committee soon acquired a dinner, which grew into a large gathering of artists and their supporters.  Few records of these dinners survive, with the exception of the one held on November 5, 1757.  At this dinner, an astonishing 154 people signed the guest list.  The original list is long lost, but it was transcribed and later published in [Brownlow 1847, 17—20]. Brownlow sorted the names alphabetically within profession (Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers) and non-artist supporters (who did not get a heading).  He also included some helpful footnotes identifying some of the names. The list thus stands as one of the few lengthy sources of the names of active artists in the late 1750s.

Joshua Kirby was present at the dinner, and out of the artists there that evening, at least 40 had subscribed to his Method of Perspective, as well as some half a dozen of the supporters.

 

References

Brownlow, J. (1847) Memoranda; or, Chronicles of the Foundling Hospital, Including Memoirs of Captain Coram, etc. London.

Hogarth and the Elephantine Arch

In 1761, George III was crowned in Westminster Hall. As Master Carpenter of the Board of Works, one of William Oram‘s tasks was to construct and decorate a triumphal arch through which the King’s Champion would ride. A print of the arch was engraved by Anthony Walker:

William Henry Pyne included an anecdote about Hogarth, Hayman and other artists teasing Oram during the construction of the arch in his rambling, entertaining, and largely fictitious work, Wine and Walnuts. It should be remembered that Pyne was not yet born when the incident related allegedly took place. However, it is the only extended anecdote involving Oram that I know, so here it is (with Pyne’s epic footnotes suppressed, but eccentric punctuation retained): Continue reading

Critiques of Analysis of Beauty

Paul Sandby didn’t have it all his own way in his attacks on William Hogarth in the wake of the publication of the Analysis of Beauty. Despite misgivings in some quarters about Hogarth’s pretensions in reducing art to the `line of beauty’, the book was generally well-received. Paulson devotes a chapter to its reception in his 3-volume biography of Hogarth, giving a long description of various reviews from lengthy treatments, including one possibly written by Samuel Johnson for the Gentleman’s Magazine, to short poetic squibs. Paulson’s summary of the immediate reception in London is that, “The reviews acknowledged both its originality and its usefulness for a variety of readers. But they also leave the impression that Hogarth had strong friends within the literary establishment, and that his enemies were a small group centered in the St. Martin’s Lane Academy” (Paulson iii, 142). In other words, literary reviews were as much about personalities and politics as they were about the content of the reviewed work. At the time there was a great deal of ferment in artistic London with a group attempting to form an Academy with professorships and closed membership, a move opposed by Hogarth.

Among the lighter responses to the publication of the Analysis of Beauty quoted by Paulson is the following verse, which Paulson cites as appearing in the London Evening Post of 7—9 February 1754, a couple of months after the book first appeared the previous December (Paulson iii, 144). However, the anonymous lines had seen print right at the beginning of the controversial reception, being published in the Public Advertiser of 18 December 1753, coincidentally the very same issue that carried the report of the death of John Kirby, Joshua’s father, on the 13th of December.

To Mr HOGARTH

Tho’ Scriblers, Witlings, Connoisseurs revile,

Thy Book shall live an Honour to this Isle:

Exert, once more, thy Analysing Art,

And five the World the Beauty’s Counterpart:

Dissect the Passions which the Works create;

Delineate Envy, Ignorance, and Hate.

 

 

References

Paulson, R. (1991). Hogarth. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Hogarth’s Disciple

Another of Paul Sandby’s satires against William Hogarth and his line of beauty in 1753 was The Analyst Besh-n in his own Taste.

Joshua Kirby is the alarmed figure on the right, identified in the caption as `a Disciple droping the Palate and Brushes thro’ concern for his Masters forlorn State’.

It is probably worth noting that none of this prevented Paul Sandby and his brother Thomas from both subscribing to Kirby’s Method of Perspective.

Hogarth’s Fiddler

When William Hogarth published his book, Analysis of Beauty, in late 1753, he was swiftly subjected to an astonishingly virulent satirical print campaign by Paul Sandby, one of the most accomplished satirical artists of the time after Hogarth himself. Well-known as a close associate of Hogarth, Joshua Kirby was depicted in several of these prints. In the one below the fiddler standing on the stage behind the “Mountebank” Hogarth is usually identified as Kirby.

The caption reads, in part, “W: his Fidler standing in the Line of Beauty”.

Click through to the British Museum site for a larger image.

Method of Perspective

Joshua Kirby’s main claim to fame rests on his book, Method of Perspective, or, to give its full title in the 18th century way, `Dr. Brook Taylor’s Method of Perspective Made Easy, Both in Theory and Practice. In Two Books. Being an Attempt to make the Art of Perspective easy and familiar; To Adapt it intirely to the Arts of Design; And To make it an entertaining Study to any Gentleman who shall chuse so polite an Amusement’.

A textbook on perspective may not seem an obvious sequel to his previous antiquarian volume, `An Historical Account of the Twelve Prints of Monasteries, Castles, antient churches, and Monuments, in the County of Suffolk’. While the earlier work had been successful, it was targeted at a Suffolk audience of clergymen, gentry, and local politicians. The Method of Perspective drew in an quite different subscriber list, as we shall see, despite Kirby’s remaining attention to ‘Gentlemen’ and their Amusements. By this time, 1754, Kirby was good friends with both the young Thomas Gainsborough, and the much older William Hogarth. Hogarth supported the endeavor. In his own book, Analysis of Beauty, published in 1753, the only mention of perspective is to give a reference to Kirby’s forthcoming work. More famously, Hogarth supplied the eccentric, and wonderful, frontispiece to Kirby’s book, the Satire on False Perspective, now reproduced in almost every book on perspective.

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