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Two plates from a series of four, etching and engraving, various sizes
Transferred from the reference collection 1973
Hogarth's four ‘Election’ pictures, now in Sir John Soane's Museum, were begun around 1754 and completed in 1755 and partly took as their theme the Oxfordshire election of that year. The corruption of the proceedings, the power of the mob and the ultimate absurdity of the election (a Whig parliament immediately overruling the Tory victory) were among Hogarth's concerns in the series. The print based on the first of the pictures was issued in February 1755, but the remaining three were not issued until early in 1758, despite the dates given in their publication lines. In a newspaper announcement of February 1757 Hogarth attributes the delay to ‘the Difficulties he has met with to procure able Hands to engrave the Plates’. His own difficulty with the first plate ‘An Election Entertainment’ had persuaded him to look elsewhere for the engraving of the others: to Grignion for the second (T01796) and to collaboration with F.M. de la Cave and Aviline for the third ‘The Polling’, and fourth (T01797) respectively.
T01797 Plate 4: Chairing the Members 1758
Etching and engraving 403×540 (15 7/8×21 1/4) on paper 444×619 (17 1/2×24 1/4); plate-mark 443×552 (17 7/16×21 3/4)
Writing-engraving ‘CHAIRING THE MEMBERS. Plate 4|Engrav'd by W. Hogarth & F. Aviline.|Published 1st Janry. 1758 as the Act directs|To the Hon.ble. George Hay, one of the Lords Commissioners of the ADMIRALTY, &c. &c. This Plate is most humbly Inscrib'd By his most Obedient humble Servant|Will.m. Hogarth.’
LITERATURE Paulson 1970, I, pp.234–5, no.201, II, pls.253, 221
The last print of the series (third state) shows the successful but unworthy candidates borne by their constituents through the streets, while strife and intrigue continue around them.
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988