Joan M. Rehlin
Our mini art history post highlights William Hogarth (11/10/1697–10/26/1764), an English painter and printmaker who was considered the most significant English artist of his generation. Born in London, Hogarth enjoyed sketching the city’s interesting street life characters, and he was apprenticed as an engraver of trade cards and other business products when he was a youngster. By the age of 23, he was a professional engraver. Later in life he was appointed Serjeant Painter, an honorable and lucrative position with the British monarchy.
Influenced by French and Italian painters and engravers, Hogarth created work that ranged from realistic portraits to satirical caricatures. The latter were often mass-produced as prints during his lifetime, and dealt humorously with “modern moral subjects.” Most likely not a coincidence, Hogarth was reportedly a member of the Hellfire Club, the name given to secret groups established in Great Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. Group members were generally high-society individuals, often involved in religion and/or politics, who took part in socially perceived immoral acts.
Hogarth was also a member of the Rose and Crown Club whose members included artists and art collectors. With a following among both the public and royalty, Hogarth’s subjects included some of the most noteworthy names in Georgian society. One of Hogarth’s many portraits (shown here) is significant because it depicts Hogarth’s friend and art patron, Mary Edwards. Hogarth and Edwards enjoyed a close friendship which was fruitful for Hogarth particularly from 1733 until her death in 1743, when she brought him commissions, including a portrait of her infant son, and referrals for other work. In return, Hogarth painted his complimentary Portrait of Miss Mary Edwards, which is currently in the Frick Collection art museum in New York City.
Portrait of Miss Mary Edwards, oil on canvas, 1742, William Hogarth
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Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.