Sunday, 20 November 2011

Hogarth in Chiswick

How better to explore the life of eighteenth-century artist William Hogarth than on a sunny autumn day in Chiswick, in the company of London Historians? Famous as the creator of Gin Lane and The Rake's Progress, Hogarth was an artist, satirist and cartoonist who depicted all levels of London life. However, he also had a country home - in Chiswick, then a rural area on the edge of the city.

His home was a relatively modest house which he extended and embellished with an oriel window. It has survived largely intact, despite the efforts of a World War II bomb, and has just reopened after several years' restoration. While the house is now alongside the A4, it was easy to ignore the sound of traffic as our guide Val Bott took us back to the quiet village Hogarth knew.

It was also in Chiswick that Hogarth was buried, in the churchyard of St Nicholas's. Here, his friend the actor David Garrick was involved in erecting a memorial to him. Hogarth is also remembered by a statue on the High Road and, rather incongruously, a roundabout. Unfortunately, when many London motorists hear his name they probably think first of the traffic news!

We'll leave Chiswick with a little mystery: can you identify this object, which is on the facade of Hogarth's house?


Jo Bourne said...

Is that nest for . . .
I dunnoh. Swallows?

Hels said...

The house might have started modestly, but it ended up looking splendid. Since the Hogarths didn't have any children, I wonder if they entertained a lot in their country home.

Is the house open to the public? I would love to visit.

HughB said...

Top half of a gin bottle?

CarolineLD said...

Hels, I don't know how much they entertained but they did share the house with various family members - including his mother-in-law, cousin, sister and assistant (see the Wikipedia article). The house is now open to the public, and well worth a visit.

Jo - it is indeed a bird nesting pot. More information tomorrow!