Garrick in the Character of Richard III.
London, Baldwin Craddock & Joy 1822
420 x 527mm
The actor David Garrick (1717-79), the greatest of eighteenth century actors, friend of Hogarth and intimate of all the great literary figures, depicted in his most celebrated role. Richard III was the role in which he first won great acclaim, upon his debut at Goodman’s Fields in October 1741. This view shows Richard in his tent before Bosworth Field, starting back in horror at the contemplation of his crimes. Hogarth has depicted Garrick’s body contorted into his famous ‘serpentine’ Line of Beauty. He later made this shape the basis of his theoretical treatise ‘The Analysis of Beauty’ published in 1753. This first major Shakespearian picture is not just a portrait but also a grand history painting in which Hogarth emphasises England’s importance. He believed that an incident from English rather than ancient history could be used to teach a moral lesson. The painting is now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Paulson 165 II/II.