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Night , from The four times of the day



William Hogarth


10 Nov 1697 – 25 or 26 October 1764

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    etching and engraving
    ii of 2 states
    48.5 x 40.4 cm plate mark; 58.7 x 47.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    European art Collection Benefactors fund 2015
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    William Hogarth

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    In this series, Hogarth, the roving satirist, takes us on a walking tour of contemporary London, exposing the folly and vice of the city’s inhabitants as we move through the districts of Covent Garden, Soho, Islington and Charing Cross over the course of a day. Hogarth’s comic and chaotic series relates to a long-standing (though more conventional) graphic tradition of representing the times of day as well as to the painting tradition of urban topography, which presented more decorous views of the city than Hogarth’s boisterous scenes. The paintings on which Hogarth’s engravings are based were probably commissioned by Jonathan Tyers, proprietor of Vauxhall Gardens, for display in the fashionable amusement park.

    'Night' presents a scene near Charing Cross with Le Sueur’s statue of Charles I in the background. The oak branches announce that it is 29 May, the day on which the restoration of Charles II was celebrated. Ironically, the scene is devoid of celebration. In the foreground a drunken freemason, wearing a collar with a square, staggers home supported by a servant. The freemason is traditionally identified as Sir Thomas de Veil, a Westminster magistrate famous for his prosecution of unlicensed gin sellers. Drenched by the contents of a chamber pot, he is oblivious to the chaos around him. A coach has crashed while trying to avoid a bonfire in the middle of the street. In the barber shop the barber-surgeon shaves and squeezes the nose of his customer. The row of dishes on the barber’s sill show the blood drawn from the day’s patients. Beneath the window, a group of homeless people huddle together in sleep.

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

  • Provenance

    William Fraser, Thence by descent

    Andrew Edmunds Prints & Drawings, 2014, London/England

Other works by William Hogarth

See all 32 works