barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


William Hogarth (1697-1764)

Night (from the sequence ‘The Four Times of the Day’)

London, 1738

Etching and graving, black ink on paper

Paper: 48.6 x 40.2 cm; mount: 80.8 x 40.2 cm

 

Disorder and chaos rule in this side-street of taverns and brothels near Charing Cross.

Children sleep under a table while a drunken Freemason is escorted home and a coach overturns into a bonfire. The mix of social classes suggests that no group was immune to the degradation and turmoil of the city. Although traditionally set in the countryside, this cycle of the day is transposed to the streets of London – and comes to a brutal end.

Purchased 2002 (No. 2002.6/4)

 

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