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Friday, 5 September 2014

Hogarth's Moral Tales

William Hogarth (1697–1764) British artist and engraver, died over a decade before Jane Austen was born, but she would have been familiar with his brilliantly observed illustrations of high and low life.

William’s ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ are among his most famous works. Each series started out as a set of paintings, which were then engraved and sold as prints. The Harlot's Progress (1733–1734), The Rake’s Progress (1735) and Marriageà la Mode (1745) were made as affordable as possible so they could reach a wide audience.

Hogarth’s prints were still widely available in Austen’s day; Romantic poets like William Wordsworth owned copies. Industry and Idleness (or adaptations of it) was so well-known that it was a popular teaching aid for children. You can find out more about Hogarth's life and his possible influences on Jane Austen's work in my latest feature for Jane Austen's Regency World


Self-portrait of William Hogarth and his dog Trump (left, above).John Ireland and John Nichols, Hogarth’s Works, First Series, Chatto & Windus, c.1874. 
‘Industry and Idleness’, Plate III (left, below) – The Idle Apprentice at play in the churchyard during divine service.
‘Idleness’ (right), Henry Sharpe Horsley,The Affectionate Parent’s Gift, T.Kelly, 1827.This illustration for a children’s book in the 1820s is clearly inspired by the Industry and Idleness above. 

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