Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kent University Print Collection

William Hogarth (1697-1764) and Bernard Baron (1696-1762), Evening from 'Four Times of Day', 1738. Link…
This engraving after William Hogarth’s Evening scene is taken from his series of four paintings ‘Four Times a Day’ (1736) which now belong to the National Trust’s Upton House and a Private collection. Hogarth selected Baron amongst others to engrave his work which was to be sold by subscription along with a fifth print of Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn (1738) for the amount of one Guinea, which rose to five shillings per print after subscription. By this time Hogarth’s prints had proven to be immensely popular with the middle-class and as noted on the bottom inscription were protected from illegal copying, which Hogarth’s work had been subject to. He had campaigned for the Engraver’s Copyright Act, which came into force just a few years before this engraving was published.
This print is in its second state identified by the addition of the sister who taunts her crying brother (before her addition, the tearful boy had seemed unexplained). The girl is thought to be added by Hogarth himself and he also went on to correct the painting accordingly. The inscription Sadlers Wells above the door way and the inscription of the name Sr Hugh Middleton (famous for bringing freshwater into central London) on the tavern sign are also new, both helping to explain and enhance the narrative. This second state also shows added cross-hatching in various parts of the picture and changed details around the added girl. The reason for these changes is inscribed underneath the first state suggesting that Hogarth himself made the alterations, from the similarity in the handwriting.
Morning, Noon, Evening and Night are the titles in the series which describes the daily life of eighteenth-century London, but also the contrasts within it. Hogarth uses the idea of classical allegorical figures for the times of the day that had become popular decoration in stately homes, known as point-du-jour. However, with true Hogarthian wit he depicts this theme with an ironic and witty twist: in Morning the ‘Aurora’ is depicted as a frosty prude who contrasts with the heat of the amorous couples outside Tom King’s Coffee House. The protagonist of Evening contrasts the graceful and chaste Venus (as suggested by the story on her fan of Venus detaining Adonis from the Chase) and instead we are presented with a fierce pregnant wife who scolds her small flustered husband, a dyer by trade (as suggested by his darkened hands which would have originally been stained blue in the prints). The strategically placed cow horns behind his head indicate his cuckoldry. The two children behind them reflect the relationship of their parents by the girl taunting her younger brother over the toy king he holds. The parallels between the children’s relationship and the parents’, as Paulson suggests, shows that there is no escape in the future as there is no escape to the country.
Evening, a ‘pastoral’ scene set in Sadlers Wells (at the time a popular middle-class resort) is the only part of the series that is set outside central London. The family’s attempt to escape the heat of the city on a day out to north London is prominently seen as a failure in the flustered faces of the adults (the wife’s face would have originally been tinted with red). In particular the husband has been forced from his afternoon’s rest but is unable to escape the dominance of his wife or the burden of his children. The harassed couple are contrasted by the group behind them who have gathered in the open air for a more relaxing and cooling drink. The intense heat is suggested by the lush grape vine growing against the tavern and the dog that walks sluggishly while looking towards the cooling water. The milking of the cow shows that the time is early evening at around five. - Samantha Smith. Link…

1 comment:

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