23 October 2013

William Hogarth in Chiswick

Painter & Engraver
Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to include the famous mulberry tree in the top photograph. The Hogarths lived in what is now Leicester Square and began their stay in this early 18th century house in Chiswick, just at weekends and in the summer, in 1749. William's widow Jane kept the house on and her cousin Mary Lewis (who died in 1808) inherited it.
This model of Hogarth was made in 1999 and is the first thing that greets the visitor inside the house: it was made by Jim Mathieson (1931–2003), who will be mentioned again later.
This diorama by Rhoda Dawson, dating from the 1950s, is a recreation of the present downstairs exhibition room in Hogarth's day. A brief biographical note at the side of this model states that Dawson grew up on Chiswick Mall the daughter of arts and crafts enamellers and metal-workers, and that she worked at Gunnersby Park Museum. She married puppeteer John Bickersdike and they put on shows together.
Upstairs, the parlour or reception room is in the oldest part of the house. The two portraits above the fireplace are reproductions of Hogarth's representations of his younger sisters Mary and Anne. One of the exhibits in the cabinet is William's father Richard's Latin primer: he unsuccessfully taught and translated as a profession and spent five years in the Fleet prison for debt (although William kept silent about this).
Hogarth published The Analysis of Beauty in 1753 and this, The Analysis of Beauty II, is an illustration from it.
It was almost certainly Hogarth who had the bay window added.
This room is an extension the family built in 1750.
The Distrest Poet (1737) shows a man starving in a garret and working on a poem called Poverty. A picture above his head is titled The Gold Mines in Peru, illustrating the gulf between wishes and reality.
Long after Hogarth's death the poet Henry Francis Cary (1772–1844) lived in this house with his family from 1799 to 1817. He became curate at nearby St Nicholas's Church in Chiswick and welcomed here such writers as William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Thomas de Quincey and D. G. Rossetti. 
On the wall is one of Cary's poems:

Sonnet on the Death of His Daughter

Thrice has the dart of Death my peace bereaved;
        First, gentle mother, when it laid thee low'.
        Then was my morn of life o'ercast with woe,
        And oft through youth the lonely sigh was heaved.
But in a child I thought thou wert retrieved.
        She loved me well, nor from my side would go
        Through fields by summer scorch'd or wintry snow:
        How o'er that little bier at noon I grieved!
Last when as time has touch'd my locks with white,
        Another now had learnt to shed fresh balm
        Into the wounds, and with a daughter's name,
Was as a seraph near me, to delight
        Restoring me by wisdom's holy calm.
Oh, Death ! I pray thee next a kinder aim.

A bedroom in the original part of the house.

The wardrobe shows clothes based on those Hogarth wore for his self-portrait of 1757, such as linen shirt and buckle shoes.

An excellent way to spend an hour or two, and free of charge.

In St Nicholas churchyard, the tomb containing the remains of Hogarth, his wife Jane, his sister Anne, and Mary Lewis. David Garrick's tribute, with obvious reference to Hogarth's very famous pictorial narratives, reads:
'Farewell great Painter of Mankind
     Who reach'd the noblest point of Art,
     Whose pictur'd Morals charm the Mind,
     And through the Eye correct the Heart.
If Genius fire thee, Reader, stay,
     If Nature touch thee, drop a tear:
If neither move thee, turn away
     For HOGARTH'S honour'd dust lies here.'

The tomb of Italian poet Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827), who died in great poverty in Chiswick,  is in the churchyard extension.

An interpretation board in Hogarth's House states that Foscolo was a great admirer of Henry Francis Cary's translations of Dante, and asks if Foscolo's presence in Chiswick was due to Cary.
Finally, the sculpture of Hogarth that should be familiar from the model shown towards the beginning of this post: this is in a prominent position on Chiswick High Road, was sculpted by Jim Mathieson and commissioned for the millennium by Chiswick Traders Association. The essential difference between this statue and the model in Hogarth's House is the addition of Hogarth's pug dog. The statue was unveiled by Ian Hislop and David Hockney in 2001.

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