William Hogarth – A Midnight Modern Conversation
William Hogarth – A Midnight Modern Conversation.
One of Hogarth’s most popular and pirated early engravings. Its publication did much to spread Hogarth’s fame to the continent.
The scene is said to be the interior of the St. Johns Coffee House, Temple Bar. The time on the clock is 4 a.m. and the candles are all burnt out.
Gathered around a large circular table on which stands a huge punchbowl, empty glasses and broken clay pipes, the maudlin and drunk patrons, all men.
In the foreground a drunken man, said to be Hogarth’s friend Dr. Ranby, unsteadily clings to the back of a chair and pours a bottle of wine onto the bald head of the prostrate figure of the prize-fighter James Figg.
On the far right, a politician in a huge periwig (Hogarth’s friend Ebenezer Forrest) sets fire to his ruffle instead of his pipe.
Seated next to him a man in a tie wig is about to be sick into the fireplace. Complacently ladling punch and smoking a pipe on the far side of the table is the parson Dr Cornelius Ford. A reprobate cousin of Dr. Johnson.
Behind him is a noisy man waving his glass in the air.
Said to be John Harrison a tobacconist, the lawyer sitting with his wig askew on Ford’s right is Kettleby ‘a vociferous bar Orator’. The glum, deaf man in a white turban is named Chandler, a bookbinder who worked for Hogarth.
On the extreme left a man has fallen asleep with his mouth open in a tilted back chair. Hats and discarded wigs hang on the wall. However, on the floor is a pile of empty bottles, broken pipes and an overflowing chamber pot. Paulson 128 III/III.
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, and his aesthetic theories had more influence in Romantic literature than in painting.