William James Müller

Dredging on the Medway

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 921 x 1840 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Holbrook Gaskell 1896
Reference
N01474

Display caption

The ability to convey character in paint was prized by 18th-century collectors, and Hogarth appears to have used this picture to advertise his skill. It hung in his studio, where it would have served to demonstrate his talent at portraiture. This interest in the portrayal of temperament also reflected a taste for 17th-century Dutch genre pictures and the depiction of social types. Hogarth’s attention to facial features demonstrates his engagement with conventional ideas of physiognomy, which had been in circulation since the Middle Ages.

Gallery label, March 2011

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