William Hogarth, ‘The Painter and his Pug’ 1745
William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug 1745 . Tate

Room 3 in Walk Through British Art

1730

13 rooms in Walk Through British Art

The Painter and his Pug

William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug  1745

Hogarth began this self-portrait in the mid-1730s. X-rays have revealed that initially it showed the artist in a formal coat and wig. He later changed these to the more informal cap and clothes seen here. The oval canvas containing Hogarth’s portrait appears propped up on volumes of Shakespeare, Swift and Milton, authors who inspired Hogarth’s commitment to drama, satire and epic poetry. On his palette is the ‘Line of Beauty and Grace’, which underpinned Hogarth’s theories on art. Hogarth’s pug dog, Trump, serves as an emblem of the artist’s own pugnacious character. This portrait acted as a statement of the artist’s professional ambition.

Gallery label, February 2016

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O the Roast Beef of Old England (‘The Gate of Calais’)

William Hogarth, O the Roast Beef of Old England (‘The Gate of Calais’)  1748

Hogarth is known for his satirical views of contemporary subjects. He visited France in 1748 and while sketching the fortifications at Calais was suspected of spying and arrested, as shown far left. Hogarth represents the French by a rabble of scrawny soldiers and a fat friar, salivating over the haunch of beef imported for the British tourists. Hogarth contrasts France implicitly with an England where all eat roast beef and not soupe maigre (watery soup). The ‘Old England’ of the title alludes to an idea of an England when kings protected their people against unjust masters and all lived in harmony and prosperity; again, in contrast to France.

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A Scene from ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ VI

William Hogarth, A Scene from ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ VI  1731

This is one of the first paintings made of an English stage performance. It depicts a climactic scene from John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, first performed at the Lincoln’s Inn Theatre in 1728. Here the opera’s central character, a highwayman named Macheath, stands chained, under sentence of death, between his two lovers, the jailer’s daughter, Lucy Lockit, and the lawyer’s daughter, Polly Peachum. At either side of the stage Hogarth has included members of the audience, notably at the far right the Duke of Bolton, real-life lover of the actress Lavinia Fenton, who played the part of Polly Peachum.

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A View of Greenwich from the River

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), A View of Greenwich from the River  c.1750–2

When Canaletto arrived in England in 1746, he was already well-known as ‘the famous painter of views of Venice’. He stayed for nearly a decade, his presence raising the status of landscape painting here. This view shows the riverfront at Greenwich with the Royal Naval Hospital, and the Queen’s House in the centre beyond. The imposing architecture of the hospital building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who was also responsible for the Royal Observatory which can be seen on the hill in the distance.

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The Strode Family

William Hogarth, The Strode Family  c.1738

Hogarth's early success as a painter was based on his exceptionally lively small-scale 'conversation pieces', or informal group portraits, which became fashionable in the 1730s. They reflected the move away from the solemn formality of the previous generation and attempted to show the sitters in easy, natural poses, in a domestic setting, engaged in everyday activities like conversation or drinking tea. The main subject here is the wealthy city magnate William Strode, seated at table with his new wife Lady Anne Cecil, his relative Col. Strode, and his tutor Dr Arthur Smyth, later Archbishop of Dublin. The paintings on the wall are reminders of their recent tour of Italy. On the floor is the tea caddy.

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An Arch of Westminster Bridge

Samuel Scott, An Arch of Westminster Bridge  c.1750

This work celebrates an important event in the history of London: the building of Westminster Bridge. The bridge, shown near completion, was the first to be built over the Thames in over 600 years. During the 11 years of its construction it was painted by many artists, including Canaletto and Richard Wilson. The arrival of Canaletto in England in 1746 may have stimulated Scott to compete by producing similar views of London scenery, particularly along the Thames. Like Canaletto, Scott has included lively figures, shown here swimming, drinking ale and peeping through the balustrade.

Gallery label, November 2016

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Mr and Mrs Carter

Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Carter  c.1747–8

This is one of Gainsborough’s earliest works. William and Frances Carter were wealthy landowners who lived near Sudbury in south-east England where Gainsborough was born. This painting was made while Gainsborough was living in London, but returning to Sudbury regularly to visit family. Critics disagree about why the difference in William and Frances’s size appears exaggerated. Some argue that as an early work, this indicates a painter still developing his skills. Others suggest that the marked contrast in their size is intended to be comical.

Gallery label, July 2019

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Three Sons of John, 3rd Earl of Bute

Johan Zoffany, Three Sons of John, 3rd Earl of Bute  c.1763–4

This group portrait was commissioned by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, who served as Prime Minister (1762–3). Bute’s sons have abandoned their game of archery to go bird-nesting. On the left in blue is William Stuart, who would later become Archbishop of Armagh. Sitting in the tree is Charles Stuart, later a Lieutenant General in the army. The setting for the portrait is Bute’s country estate, Luton Park, Bedfordshire, which he acquired in 1763. The painting displays both Bute’s progeny and his position as an important landowner.

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Samuel Richardson, the Novelist (1684-1761), Seated, Surrounded by his Second Family

Francis Hayman, Samuel Richardson, the Novelist (1684-1761), Seated, Surrounded by his Second Family  1740–1

Samuel Richardson was one of the earliest practitioners of the novel. He came to public attention with Pamela: or, Virtue rewarded 1740, which tells the story of a virtuous young maidservant and the lustful attentions of her master whom she constantly rebuffs, then reforms and finally marries. Painted scenes from the book can be seen nearby. Richardson’s novel was one of many that were to emerge in the 18th century by authors such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Henry Fielding.

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London: The Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), London: The Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park  c.1749

Horse Guards, the building with the clocktower in the centre, was the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the army, and housed the horse guards and some foot guards. It was replaced in the 1750s with the white stone building that stands today. Canaletto’s paintings were in demand from rich patrons. However, this work was produced speculatively, possibly in the hope of selling it to a wealthy resident of Downing Street (seen on the right). Canaletto invited prospective buyers to view the painting at his Soho lodgings.

Gallery label, November 2016

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Lavinia Fenton, Duchess of Bolton

William Hogarth, Lavinia Fenton, Duchess of Bolton  c.1740–50

This is said to be a portrait of the actress and singer Lavinia Fenton (1708–60), who starred as the heroine Polly Peachum in the original and highly successful 1728 production of The Beggar’s Opera. After it closed, Fenton ran away with her lover, Charles Paulet, 3rd Duke of Bolton (1685–1754) and the couple had three sons. When the Duke’s estranged wife died in 1751, the Duke and Lavinia married and she became Duchess of Bolton. This portrait – if correctly identified – shows her in later life. She died in Greenwich in 1760.

Gallery label, June 2018

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Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream

Thomas Gainsborough, Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream  c.1760

Gainsborough was one of the most celebrated 18th-century society portrait painters but he also painted landscapes. This is one of several pictures on the theme of peasants travelling to or from market. These articulate a sense of nostalgia for the old ways of country life, where independent family units were able to support themselves by working the land. Here, a family is shown in a moment of rest after the labours of the day. The painting’s rich colours and swelling forms evoke the example of the 17th-century painter Rubens, giving the scene a feeling of peaceful grandeur.

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IX: Pamela is Married

Joseph Highmore, IX: Pamela is Married  1743–4

This painting shows the high point of the first part of Richardson’s novel. Having failed in his attempts to seduce Pamela, Mr B sees the error of his ways and becomes a reformed man. The couple marry in secret in Mr B’s private chapel. On Pamela’s left is her humble but dignified father, who gives her away. In the background, behind Mr B, is the housekeeper Mrs Jewkes, now also a reformed character. She grasps a bottle of smelling salts in case she is overwhelmed with emotion.

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View of Copped Hall in Essex, from the Park

George Lambert, Francis Hayman, View of Copped Hall in Essex, from the Park  1746

This picture of Copped Hall was commissioned by MP John Conyers when he inherited the Tudor mansion. He demolished it two years after this was painted to make way for a new Palladian house. In addition to painting landscapes, George Lambert worked as a scene painter in London’s theatres. He collaborated with several artists, including Hogarth and Samuel Scott. The figures in this view were painted by the portraitist and decorative painter Francis Hayman.

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The Du Cane and Boehm Family Group

Gawen Hamilton, The Du Cane and Boehm Family Group  1734–5

This formal group portrait is a record of the dynastic union, through marriage, of the financially powerful Du Cane and Boehm families, both of Huguenot (exiled French Protestant) descent. Standing at the centre is Richard Du Cane, flanked by his family, including the couple whose marriage in 1735 united the two families: his daughter Jane and Charles Boehm. The portrait is among Hamilton’s most ambitious compositions and shows why contemporaries regarded him as a serious rival to William Hogarth.

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James Grant, John Mytton, Thomas Robinson and Thomas Wynn in front of the Colosseum in Rome

Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, James Grant, John Mytton, Thomas Robinson and Thomas Wynn in front of the Colosseum in Rome  1760

This painting shows four friends during their Grand Tour, the journey made by wealthy young gentlemen to Italy in search of antique and modern culture that was popular in the late-18th century. The Colosseum, urn and drawing of Palladian architecture allude to the friends’ classical learning and experience. Dance-Holland studied and worked in Italy from 1754 to 1766. As well as painting on classical subjects, he produced portraits of British tourists passing through Rome. The artist was commissioned to produce four versions of this painting, one for each sitter.

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Thomas, 2nd Baron Mansel of Margam with his Blackwood Half-Brothers and Sister

Allan Ramsay, Thomas, 2nd Baron Mansel of Margam with his Blackwood Half-Brothers and Sister  1742

This portrait was probably commissioned to commemorate the children’s mother, who had died in October 1741. To the right is Thomas Mansel. At his side are his elder half-brother Shovel and sister Mary. The youngest child, John, is seated at the left, smiling towards the viewer. Mary, who was partially sighted, places her hand over the bird’s breast, perhaps to demonstrate the importance to her of the sense of touch. The reddish-brown mark is part of the partridge’s natural plumage.

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Rome: St Peter’s and the Vatican from the Janiculum

Richard Wilson, Rome: St Peter’s and the Vatican from the Janiculum  c.1753

This painting shows one of the most celebrated views of Rome, looking over the city from Janiculum Hill in Trastevere. The landscape to the north of the city, on the left, is dominated by the Vatican, with the dome of St Peter’s, and the Roman countryside of Campagna beyond. On the horizon, to the right, is Mount Soracte. This is one of Wilson’s most ambitious early Italian landscape paintings. It was commissioned by the British aristocrat William Legge, second Earl of Dartmouth, who was one of Wilson’s key patrons in Italy.

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A British Man of War Firing a Salute

Charles Brooking, A British Man of War Firing a Salute  c.1750–9

British marine painting developed at the end of the 17th century in response to Britain’s mercantile and imperial expansion. Brooking was a major figure in this development. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he preferred generalised depictions of different types of ship, rather than documentary representations of particular places or events. This scene may, therefore, be imagined rather than actual. It was said that Brooking ‘had been much to sea’. This is reflected in his obvious knowledge of sailing in different weather conditions, and of the details of ships, sails and rigging.

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Portrait of the Artist’s Son, Jonathan Richardson the Younger, in his Study

Jonathan Richardson, Portrait of the Artist’s Son, Jonathan Richardson the Younger, in his Study  c.1734

Richardson was Britain’s leading native-born artist of his generation and one of an elite group of portrait painters. He was also the most important English art theorist of the early-18th century. This painting depicts his eldest son, who shared many of his father’s cultural interests but was raised a gentleman, not a professional artist. He is shown in his study reading Greek philosophy, an antique bust of Homer placed nearby. On the wall hangs a self-portrait by his father and a portrait of his mother who had died in 1726 (hence the divine rays).

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Portrait of Henry Lannoy Hunter in Oriental Dress, Resting from Hunting, with a Manservant Holding Game

Andrea Soldi, Portrait of Henry Lannoy Hunter in Oriental Dress, Resting from Hunting, with a Manservant Holding Game  c.1733–6

Henry Hunter was a Levant Company merchant based in Aleppo, the trading capital of Syria (then under Ottoman rule) and the gateway to the silk routes. He is shown in Turkish attire, being presented with the trophies of his day’s hunting. Hunting was a frequent pastime of the Aleppo merchants, whose leisure activities were otherwise restricted. The Italian painter Andrea Soldi travelled to the Middle East before settling in England in 1736 on the advice of the British merchants.

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Breaking-Up Day at Dr Clayton’s School at Salford

Arthur Devis, Breaking-Up Day at Dr Clayton’s School at Salford  c.1738

This informal group portrait, or ‘conversation piece’, shows Dr John Clayton, founder of Salford Grammar School, with a fellow teacher and ten of their pupils at the end of their school term. Dr Clayton stands, as if on a stage set, at the entrance to his school. In his hand he holds a scroll, containing a Latin quotation from the classical poet Horace, which can be translated as ‘Now drink in these Words with a pure heart, boy’. While some of the boys recite verses especially written for the end of term, others are already engaged in sports and various high jinks.

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XI: Pamela Asks Sir Jacob Swinford’s Blessing

Joseph Highmore, XI: Pamela Asks Sir Jacob Swinford’s Blessing  1743–4

This scene represents Pamela’s great triumph in the second part of the novel. Although her personal qualities gradually win her the acceptance of all her snobbish new relations, her husband’s rich uncle Sir Jacob remains implacably opposed to the marriage. When he finally does meet Pamela, he mistakes her for the daughter of an earl. On discovering his mistake, his prejudices against her finally crumble and he is persuaded to give his blessing to the fait accompli of his nephew’s unequal marriage.

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Sorry, copyright restrictions prevent us from showing this object here

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), London: the New Horse Guards from St James’s Park  c.1752–3

This painting is closely related to other views of Horse Guards by Canaletto, including the much larger and slightly earlier image which hangs nearby. Here Canaletto shows the construction of the new Horse Guards building, the original red-brick building having been demolished in 1749–50. Much larger than the earlier building and formed of white stone, it was designed in the classical style by William Kent. Wooden scaffolding can be seen supporting the clock tower, and work on the south wing is yet to begin. This is the building that exists to this day.

Gallery label, November 2016

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artworks in 1730

Art in this room

The Painter and his Pug
William Hogarth The Painter and his Pug 1745
O the Roast Beef of Old England (‘The Gate of Calais’)
William Hogarth O the Roast Beef of Old England (‘The Gate of Calais’) 1748
A Scene from ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ VI
William Hogarth A Scene from ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ VI 1731
A View of Greenwich from the River
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) A View of Greenwich from the River c.1750–2
The Strode Family
William Hogarth The Strode Family c.1738
An Arch of Westminster Bridge
Samuel Scott An Arch of Westminster Bridge c.1750

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