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Many of Hogarth's biographers have lamented over his seven years' drudgery of silver-plate engraving; but from thence arose that facility and precision in drawing that enabled him to strike off in a few effective lines the peculiarities, even the fleeting expression, of the countenances he wished to draw, and which were, in the absence of a sketch-book, actually sketched on his thumb-nail. Work in the precious metals, as Mr. Ruskin has reminded us, is generally the means of education of the greatest painters and sculptors of the day. Soon after the close of his apprenticeship, we find Hogarth designing and engraving copper plates for the booksellers, but at the same time attending a school of design which had been established by Sir James Thornhill in St. Martin's-lane. When at the beginning of this paper we remarked that England, even to the days of George I., could not boast a single artist, the reader might probably feel surprised that the successor of Verrio in royal favour, the painter employed to decorate the great hall of Greenwich Hospital and the dome of St. Paul's, should be so completely ignored; but the slightest glance at these 'great 'works,' as our great-grandfathers called them, is sufficient to vindicate the truth of our assertion. Not 'Sir James Thorn'hill, Member of Parliament, Serjeant-Painter to the King,' but obscure William Hogarth, was our first English painter.

What was the course of study at this St. Martin's-lane academy, or who were Hogarth's associates, cannot be ascertained. On his entrance he seems to have felt a passing stir of ambition; for he tells us, "The paintings at St. Paul's and Green'wich Hospital, which were that time going on, run in my head, ' and I determined that silver-plate engraving should be followed 'no longer than necessity obliged me to it. His copper-plate engraving he, however, continued to follow long after he had attained a name as a painter. Indeed, during his attendance at St. Martin's-lane it supplied his means of subsistence. ' remember the time,' he says, with that simple truthfulness which he never lost,' when I have gone moping into the city 'with scarce a shilling, but as soon as I had received there ten 'guineas for a plate, I have returned home, put on my sword, ' and sallied out again with all the confidence of a man who had


After referring to Ghiberti, Verrochio, Girlandajo, and Francia, as illustrations of this, Mr. Ruskin gives his reasons for the fact that goldsmiths' 'work is so wholesome for young artists: first, that it gives great firmness of hand to deal for some time with a solid substance; again, it induces caution and 'steadiness; and, lastly, it gives great delicacy and precision of touch to work 'on minute forms, and to aim at producing richness and finish of design.' How admirably all these conditions, especially the last, are fulfilled, Hogarth's pictures abundantly prove.


Hogarth's Progress-his Conversation Pieces.' thousands in his pockets.' We can picture to ourselves young Hogarth, sword by his side, 'sallying out,' full of bright hopes, and doubtless turning his footsteps towards St. Martin's-lane, not meanly to flaunt his bravery before his fellow-students, but to catch a glance of those bright eyes, perhaps on the look-out for his coming, and which had beamed so kindly on him; for the young painter had already won the heart of Sir James Thornhill's only daughter, pretty Jane. There is her portrait (13), painted long after; a bright-complexioned, bright-eyed woman. She must have been a lovely girl at eighteen. No wonder Hogarth still attended the academy, although he tells us he quarrelled with his brother students on points of art. He also tried to gain the favour of Thornhill by his engraving of "The Taste of the Town,' where Kent, the bete noir of the 'King's Serjeant-Painter,' was pilloried in scorn at the top of Burlington-gate, and by a subsequent print turning into welldeserved ridicule Kent's wretched altar-piece at St. Clement Danes. But however Sir James might be gratified with these pictorial satires on his rival, he does not seem to have been willing to bestow his daughter; so, after a delay of four years, the young people, apparently with Lady Thornhill's connivance, were married at St. Martin's Church.

And now began Hogarth's career as a painter in good earnest. He painted small 'conversation pieces,' as they were called, and, according to Horace Walpole, who ought to have known better, 'succeeded ill enough.' The reader who looks at the picture entitled Conversation at Wanstead House' (86), and the smaller piece beside it (85), will, we think, give a different verdict. There are more than twenty figures in the first; but how admirably are they grouped, and how fine, even in this, said to be one of his earliest pictures, is the colouring, so soft and harmonious, while the Turkey carpet in the foreground, so delicately painted, skilfully balances the rich tints of the dresses. No. 85 has only five or six figures, but they are as instinct with life as any of the characters in his various series. A gentleman, whose back is toward us, is telling some, probably marvellous, story, at which the lady to the right lifts up her hands in uncontrolled astonishment. Not so the elderly gentleman beside her : he shakes his head; and there never was scornful disbelief more forcibly depicted than in his face. Both these pictures are most exquisitely finished. The little 'egg-shell china' cup which the lady so daintily holds to her lips, the ornaments on the mantelpiece, the broidery of the stomachers, the chasing on the etui, remind us of Van Eyck. Although Hogarth, judging from his more celebrated pictures as well as these, evidently preferred



painting on a small scale, he also painted full-sized portraits, in which, Allan Cunningham has found out, that he was not 'quite successful.' In the present exhibition three of his life-size portraits find a place close beside the choicest portraits of Reynolds and Gainsborough; but they well endure even this test. Look at Lavinia Fenton' (41); her fine complexion does not pale, though so near to Gainsborough's 'Lady Ligonier;' and, just above, Reynolds's 'Duchess of Devonshire.' And then the fine portrait of that benevolent old man, 'Captain Coram;' who, save Reynolds, could equal it?

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But Hogarth ere long felt that there was other more important work for him to do than painting, though so well, portraits and conversation pieces. I thought," he says, 'that both critics ' and painters had, in the historical style, quite overlooked that intermediate species of subjects which may be placed between 'the sublime and the grotesque. I therefore wished to compose 'pictures on canvas similar to representations on the stage, and 'further hope they will be tried by the same test, and criticised 'by the same criterion.' Alas for Hogarth's expectations! critics who could smile at and applaud 'genteel comedy,' and laugh heartily at broad farce, could not be prevailed upon to look favourably on pictures which sought to represent scenes of everyday life, although the richest comedy, the deepest tragedy, were to be found there. Happily for his contemporaries, as well as future times, he was not to be put down by abuse or ridicule ; and thus his fine series of pictorial dramas remain for the delight and instruction of all.

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The first of these series was the Harlot's Progress,' in six plates, and which appeared in 1734. These were highly successful; and the reconciliation of Thornhill with his son-in-law is said to have followed their publication. But two of the pictures now remain (2 and 3); the others were destroyed in the fire at Fonthill. The delicate finish, and the fine feeling for colour of these two, are worthy of note; and comparison with even the best engravings from them will show how inadequately Hogarth can be appreciated unless we judge him by his paintings. In these two, and in Marriage Alamode,' and in The Election,' how many a subtle trait of character, how many a line of grace and beauty, are preserved by the pencil that the less accurate graver has wholly passed over. The Rake's Pro'gress' was next, a series of eight pictures, to which, on publication, he added a ninth, inappropriate enough as pendant to a story which ended with hopeless madness in Bedlam; for it was his Southwark Fair.' Perhaps this was to conciliate his subscribers, who seem most perversely to have always viewed him

Hogarth's Works between 1736 and 1743.


as a humourist, even while bringing before their eyes the most appalling scenes. The 'Rake's Progress' has long been in the Soane Collection, but 'Southwark Fair' (84) has only now been brought out to public view. And how well does it vindicate Hogarth's claim, denied until almost as yesterday, as a colourist. And 'how admirable,' as Leslie has observed, 'is the grouping, 'and the whole composition, from which nothing, even to the 'most minute object, can be spared.' Hogarth seems to have been fairly successful in the sale of his engravings, but the far more beautiful and suggestive original paintings long remained on his hands. Still he went on painting and engraving, and many were his works between 1736 and 1740. In the last year appeared that strange picture yet so filled with beauty and marvellous humour-the 'Strolling Actresses in a Barn' (87). Some of the women here are very beautiful, and, with the handsome girl drummer in Southwark Fair,' thoroughly disprove the opinion, which even some artists have not refused to hold, that Hogarth could not paint a beautiful woman. But then the strange whimsicality of the whole: Flora greasing her hair with the candle end; the little devils emptying the porter pot so heartily; the classical altar, with its unwonted offerings of the loaf of bread and tobacco-pipe, and Cupid, with useless wings, fain to use a ladder to reach the stockings hung up to dry; while Juno, seated on the wheelbarrow, holds out her dainty foot that hers may be mended by no less important a personage than starry-robed Night. It was doubtless in a paroxysm of supreme contempt for the painters of what they called 'classical 'mythology,' that Hogarth struck off this fine picture, the 'richest of all his works as a composition,' according to Leslie. Only £27 was given for it by its first purchaser, Francis Beckford; but he thought the price too high, and returned it. Soon after Hogarth offered by auction nineteen of the pictures we have referred to, but received only £427 for them all!

Happily, although the wealthy dilettanti refused to patronise the first painter of his age, the people gave a hearty welcome to pictures so true to nature. They could not appreciate his artistic excellence, but they recognised the truth, the spirit— the spirit so thoroughly English, of him who claimed as his proudest characteristic that he was an English painter. Hogarth now lived in comfort; he kept his carriage, had soon after a pleasant country house at Chiswick; and although the self-called 'painters' of his day, whose very names are now forgotten, refused to acknowledge him, scholars and men of letters did willing homage to his genius. Marriage Alamode,' among the finest of his series, and the best known, appeared in 1743.

Dr. Waagen has paid a just tribute to the delicate execution 'and refined feeling for harmonious effects' of these pictures, which yet were sold by auction for less than £100. At the close of the last century their merit was more justly appreciated; for they were sold by Colonel Cawthorne to Mr. Angerstein for £1,381.

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It was soon after the panic of the forty-five' that Hogarth's capital picture, overflowing with such admirable satire, The 'March to Finchley' (6), appeared. No one, unless the most stupid, or most malignant of Hogarth's critics, could ever have found out a concealed Jacobitism in this fine composition. If the grenadier be supposed to typify England, he is evidently acknowledging the English ballad-singer as his wife; and the rage with which the Scotchwoman is turning away with her Jacobite wares shows the opinion Hogarth held on the subject. As to the thievery of the soldiers, this was too evident a characteristic in those days to be ignored; but we think there is an under meaning, and that if we could get at the debates of those days we should find the stealing the ducks from the pond, the cheating the milkwoman, and the numerous acts of roguery, had all reference to 'jobs' in the commissariat department, which, disgraceful as they were during the late Crimean war, were twenty times more so in the days of George II. How beautifully the background here is painted-the pleasant fields, and Hampstead-hill in the distance-and how fine is its contrast with the fighting, squabbling, riotous crew in the foreground. It was by a narrow chance that the Foundling became possessed of this picture. It was to be disposed of by lottery, every subscriber for a print to have one chance. The remainder of the unsold tickets Hogarth presented to the Foundling, and one of these gained the prize. Soon after, that excellent series appeared, so dear to our grandfathers, and deservedly so, 'Industry and Idleness;' tracing the upward course of Francis Goodchild to the mayoralty, and the downward career of Tom Idle to the night-cellar, the murder, and Tyburn. Who can estimate the amount of good these prints have effected? But though inferior as artistic productions to the others, there is much worthy of note. How sweet and pleasant the expression of the two young people as they sing the psalm out of the same book; how sorrowful the look of the alderman as he recognises his fellow-apprentice in the hardened ruffian at the bar. We are not aware that the originals of these are in existence.

Advancing years did not affect Hogarth's genius; his last series, The Election' (9 to 12), approaches very near to the

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