|Method||Copper engraving and etching|
|Published||Design'd, Engrav'd & Publish'd by Wm. Hogarth Novbr. the 30th. 1741. According to Act of Parliament [J & J Boydell c.1795]|
|Dimensions||Image 403 x 330 mm, Plate 415 x 360 mm, Sheet 645 x 476 mm|
A musician by an open window is seen holding his ears, angrily glaring at the noisy people in the street below. A pregnant woman is singing to her crying baby, echoed by the parrot perched on the streetlight above them. Several children are playing and making noise in their own way, most notably a boy dressed up as a soldier, beating on a drum. A knife-grinder is at work, as is the dustman, who is sounding his bell to announce his approach, and so are the sow-gelder riding a horse and blowing his horn, and the yelling fish-peddler. In the distance a reference is made to the noisy business of a pewter, and two fighting cats are seen on a rooftop, where a chimney-sweep is also at work. The raised flag by the church indicates that it is a day of national importance, and the church bells will be ringing throughout. The playbill on the musician's house refers to the Beggers Opera, which was so popular "you had to hold your ears to avoid it". Mediating between this chaotic street noise and the elitist musician cooped up in his study, are a beautiful and serene looking young woman, and a travelling oboe-player. The original was published as a companion print to The Distrest Poet in 1741.
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764) was born in London, the son of an unsuccessful schoolmaster and writer from Westmoreland. After apprenticeship to a goldsmith, he began to produce his own engraved designs in about 1710. He later took up oil painting, starting with small portrait groups called conversation pieces. He went on to create a series of paintings satirising contemporary customs, but based on earlier Italian prints, of which the first was The Harlot's Progress (1731), and perhaps the most famous The Rake's Progress. His engravings were so plagiarised that he lobbied for the Copyright Act of 1735, commonly referred to as 'Hogarth's Act,' as a protection for writers and artists. During the 1730s Hogarth also developed into an original painter of life-sized portraits, and created the first of several history paintings in the grand manner.
Paulson 152 iii/iii, BM Satires 2518
Condition: Water stain to left edge of sheet, time toning and foxing to sheet.