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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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William Hogarth arrived in the medium of painting having earlier trained as a silver engraver and printmaker.

Hogarth was an artist famous for producing series of artworks in several different mediums, with his most famous series of paintings being Marriage à la Mode. Hogarth claimed to have been self-taught within oils, and there is little evidence to disprove this. The impact of Hogarth's art went far beyond just his exceptional technical skills, he would also address unique themes within his work. His two famous engravings, for example, titled Gin Lane and Beer Street held political bias towards the legislation around alcohol across the UK at that time.

Whilst addressing controversial topics, Hogarth would build up a reputation as a bold artist who would not shy away from taking on the important themes of his day. He also is considered amongst the most talented of early-Georgian artists, not just in the UK but across Europe as a whole. As with all controversial artistic figures, his work would divide opinion but he now is highly respected within European art history, both within engraving and oil painting. Other famous names from British art include JMW Turner, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs.

Despite the prominence of oil painting across the art world over the past few centuries, it is an area that has not been researched in Hogarth's career as much as with his engravings and drawings. It has been a task to draw together all manner of dispersed resources in order to confidently present a full catalogue of his paintings This was achieved in William Hogarth by Elizabeth Einberg, which we have made use of for some of the content in this section. At the time of his passing, artist Hogarth had been offered, and accepted, a list of commissions which he could not have ever realistically delivered. This list of unfinished paintings was documented in various correspondence found upon his person at the time of his death.

That information provided a starting point from which biographers began to chronicle all of his career almost immediately after his passing. The amount of unfinished commissions might suggest that his death was particularly unexpected and sudden. There was a period known as Hogarthomania which last for several decades and resulted in many incorrect attributions to his career for financial gain. The William Hogarth paintings listed in this section are confidently attributed to his hand and accompany explanatory descriptions on each artwork.

Joshua Reynolds Edwin Landseer Hans Holbein