William Hogarth – The Bench
William Hogarth, The Bench.
Hogarth’s caricature of legal corruption. The top rank shows a row of grotesquely caricatured heads, and beneath them the central figure is the enormously bloated figure of Sir John Willes, Chief Justice, flanked on either side by two sleeping judges.
A political turncoat, Willes was a man whose intelligence and learning were dimmed by his reputation for immorality (he is also Hogarth’s model for the seducer in Before and After).
He was thought to have fathered 26 illegitimate children and George III subsequently refused him both the Chancellorship and a peerage on moral grounds. Paulson 205.
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.