William Hogarth Heads of Six of Hogarth’s Servants c.1750–5

Artwork details

Artist
William Hogarth 1697–1764
Title
Heads of Six of Hogarth’s Servants
Date c.1750–5
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 630 x 755 mm
frame: 883 x 1009 x 65 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1892
Reference
N01374
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

This unusual group portrait originally hung in Hogarth’s studio where it must have served as an advertisement for the artist’s unrivalled skill in characterisation. The picture consists of a series of unrelated studies. Hogarth has achieved a unified composition through a symmetrical arrangement of the heads and a consistent light source coming from the upper left. Hogarth’s decision to paint his own servants together, outside the confines of their daily routine is quite unique. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this picture is the collective sense of dignity and humanity displayed by this assemblage of unassuming individuals.

August 2004

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