Hogarth's Life

Portrait of Hogarth from the Tate Gallery, via the Wikimedia Commons

William Hogarth (1697 – 1764) was born to Richard and Anne Hogarth on November 10, 1697 in Bartholomew Close, Smithfield, London. Richard Hogarth earned a living through publishing Latin and Greek textbooks— he later experienced financial difficulty which stopped William from attending university or pursuing a professional career (Bindman). He started as an apprentice to a goldsmith, and began making his own engravings in 1710 (National Gallery). In 1729, Hogarth eloped with Jane Thornhill, the daughter of painter James Thornhill (Hallet et al.). Through his newfound connection to Thornhill, Hogarth was able to obtain further commissions to paint (Bindman). He later delved into oil paintings, his first series being The Harlot’s Progress, created in 1731 (National Gallery). The series contained Hogarth’s social critique of current issues which would be a trend of artistic awareness in future projects.

In addition to Hudibras, Hogarth created A Rake's Progress around the year 1734, which garnered even more success than The Harlot's Progress (Bindman). Alongside other engravers, Hogarth helped establish the Engraver's Copyright Act, prohibiting plagiarism of their work. This law went into effect on June 25th, 1735, after which Hogarth comfortably published his work (Hallet et al.). Throughout his life, Hogarth created other works, including Industry and Idleness (1747), as well as individual portraits (National Gallery). By the time of his death on October 25th, 1747, Hogarth held international acclaim, becoming known as the "Father of British Painting".  He is buried at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in London (Bindman).