(prints & paintings - 5/5)
Hogarth's Servants (painted mid-1756)
'Painted with remarkable verve, acuity of observation and sympathy, this collective portrait, without parallel in the eighteenth century, demonstrates Hogarth's abiding interest in physiognomy and the deftness with which he was able to capture a likeness. Possibly finished in a single sitting, the work offers a more subdued, veristic contrast to the expressive heads which populate such plates as Characters and Caricaturas (1743) or paintings such as The Bench (1758, page 135), and resembles the contemporaneous Shrimp Girl in the effect of apparent spontaneity which it achieves. Hogarth's purpose in recording the features of a social class more normally conspicuous by their absence in eighteenth-century English art is unknown. Yet his theoretical preoccupation with the face and its expressive potential would suggest that his servants provided the artist with a convenient subject for what is essentially a virtuoso exercise in mimetic representation. Hogarth's household had moved to the Golden Head, Leicester Fields in 1733, and the artist purchased a country retreat at Chiswick in 1749. Given the size of the Hogarth ménage, his retinue of servants was modest for the period. Other than the artist and his wife Jane, the extended family at this period consisted of his sister Anne, his mother-in-law Lady Thornhill, and his wife's companion, her young cousin Mary Lewis. Contemporary testimony records Hogarth's generosity as an employer, and apparently his servants tended to remain in service with the family over many years.'
Francis Matthew Schutz in his Bed (1755-60)
'This unusual image of Schutz paying the price of Tan evening's over-indulgence is thought to have been commissioned by his wife Susan Bacon, whom he had married in March 1755. The clue to the work's meaning lies in the inscription from Horace on the wall by the lyre: 'Vixi puellis nuper idoneus, &c' ('Not long ago I kept it in good order for the girls'). In the original ode, and through its positioning on Hogarth's canvas, the line refers to the lyre, which the poet claims to have hung up in the Temple of Venus after retiring from amorous adventures. In the present context, however, the epigram carries wider implications referring to Schutz's intemperance, and possible neglect of his marital duties.
The admonitory tone of this work pitches it midway between a genre painting and a portrait. The unusually frank intimacy of the scene apparently proved too strong for Schutz's descendants, who in the early nineteenth century had the work altered to show Francis Matthew blamelessly reading in bed. In its restored form, we can see Hogarth's directness in portraying bodily functions for moral effect - a scatological theme which, though unusual in painting. was ubiquitous in graphic satire of the period. The Schutz family itself was related to the crown - Francis Matthew's father, Colonel John Schutz, was a second cousin of George n and had held a number of posts in the Hanoverian court. As Schutz himself was third cousin to Frederick, Prince of Wales, it has been suggested that Hogarth's commission for the work was possibly related to the late Prince's court circle at Leicester House.'
Self-Portrait with Palette - Detail (1735)
Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Winchester (print : 1743)
Doctor Benjamin Hoadly (1738)