William Hogarth – Four Prints of an Election
William Hogarth – Four Prints of an Election. The general tenor of Hogarth’s Election plates and the issues involved, derive from the notoriously corrupt Oxfordshire election of 1754.
Both felt that their political influence was not as great as their prestige and holdings entitled them to, consequently they resolved to challenge the Tory supremacy, and for the two years prior to the General Election they waged a riotous and unrelenting campaign of vote rigging, gerrymandering, propaganda and corruption, here satirised by Hogarth.
1. An Election Entertainment Hogarth’s most complex and worked over engraving. A drunken, riotous Whig election party in the coffee room of an inn. Paulson 198, state VIII / VIII.
2. Canvassing for Votes A village street. Outside one pub one party canvasses the electors, while outside the another pub the other party rallies its troops. Paulson 199 state 1V / IV.
3. The Polling A polling booth on election day. Every person entitled by property qualifications to vote has been pressed to attend including the blind, crippled, convicted and dying. Paulson 200 state III / III.
4. Chairing the Members The victorious members are carried aloft by their jubilant supporters. In actual fact there was no chairing of the members after the Oxfordshire Election.
The Tories were declared the winners, but the results were immediately referred to Parliament for scutiny, and the Whigs declared the eventual winners, a fact Hogarth comments on in this engraving with the True Blue slogans carried by the revellers.
William Hogarth, (born November 10, 1697, London, England—died October 26, 1764, London). The first great English-born artist to attract admiration abroad. Best known for his MORAL and satirical engravings and paintings—e.g., A Rake’s Progress (eight scenes,1733).
His attempts to build a reputation as a history painter and portraitist, however, met with financial disappointment. His aesthetic theories had more influence in Romantic literature than in painting.