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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Hogarth (1697-1764), Painter and engraver

Self-portraits
Apart from the Roubiliac bust of 1741, five other authentic portraits, all self-portraits, are known. Two sketches appear in the Five Days' Peregrination, the record of an impromptu tour undertaken in 1732 with four friends including the painter Samuel Scott (q.v.) and the sitter's brother-in-law John Thornhill. In 'Drawing ye 3rd', a view of Upnor Castle with the five travellers in the foreground, the artist shows himself side by side with Thornhill, a comment no doubt on his extreme shortness of stature. The fourth illustration including 'Mr Hogarth Drawing this Drawing' is of ‘Breakfast in Stoke'. The portrait with Trump, Tate Gallery (112), has the date 1745 included in the picture; engravings were on sale by March 1748. [1] The other portrait in Oh the Roast Beef of Old England, 1748, at the Tate (1464), is separately engraved, and depicts the artist sketching the Porte de la Mer, Calais. NPG 289, the self-portrait at the easel, c.1758, is discussed here.
The diagonal scar over the right eye, the result of an accident in his youth, is shown in the major portraits. The artist, as Ireland also records, 'frequently wore his hat so as to display it'. [2] The silhouette ‘Hogarth and Garrick' [3] engraved by B. Longmate and published in Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth, 1799, is apparently rightly named. It is amusing rather than of high iconographic value.
At least one self-portrait is missing. In Mrs Hogarth's sale, lot 45 'His own Portrait, a head' was annotated in the sale catalogue ‘£2/8/0. Vincent' and bought by 'Mr Wilson'. [4] It may have been the picture, lot 37, in the Thomas Gwennap sale, Christie's, 4 April 1821, bought Colnaghi's. The catalogue refers to the scar and to the provenance of the portrait 'bought at the Sale of the Artist's effects, by the late Mr Rhann'. Alternatively it may have passed into the Watson Taylor collection, perhaps no.45 at the British Gallery, 1817, [5] lent by him and described as a self-portrait of the artist. Again, it might have been lot 43, Taylor sale, 25 July 1832 (15th day), catalogued as 'intended to be presented to the gallery of pictures at the Foundling Hospital' - bought for £31.10s. In the Willett sale, Christie's, 10 July 1869, a small head (lot 64) [6] was sketched by Scharf who believed it to represent Hogarth. Though somewhat slight, his sketch shows the scar over the right eye. The wig might be of the 1730s. A picture described as a self-portrait and fetching £9 was lot 64, anonymous property, at the Christie's sale, 18 June 1805, which included the eight paintings of 'The Rake's Progress' bought by Soane for £598.10s. This portrait has not been subsequently identified.

Other portraits
References to other portraits occur whose history cannot be traced back to the sitter's life-time. In 1781 Charles Townley published a mezzotint Hogarth From an Original Portrait begun by Weltdon And finished by Himself Late in the Possession of the Revd Mr. Townley but no such portrait was known, or accepted, by Hogarth's family. [7] The costume could be of the 'thirties or 'forties. The hat is pulled down over the forehead, no scar is visible and the hand as well as the features appear to have been smoothed out by the engraver. The squareness of the jaw, however, carries a certain conviction and it may well be rightly named. An oil formerly in the Kinnaird collection, exhibited 'Hogarth', Tate Gallery, 1951 (23), provenance unknown before 1812 when owned by the 8th Lord Kinnaird, is now in the Mellon collection. A similar self-portrait owned and engraved by Samuel Ireland was first published by W. Dickenson, 1786 (F. O'Donoghue and Sir Henry M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits ... in the British Museum, 1908-25, 33) and later, 1794, in Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth (F. O'Donoghue and Sir Henry M. Hake, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits ... in the British Museum, 1908-25, 34). It shows the sitter, head and shoulders, holding a palette, and might perhaps relate to 'Hogarth's own Portrait with Pallet' which was lot 452, bought Manson £4 14s 6d, in the sale of Ireland's property, Sotheby's, 7 May 1801, and days following. Ireland, on the other hand, is not infallible. He believed, for example, that Hayman's ‘Greene and Hoadly' (NPG 2106, see Maurice Greene) was by Hogarth. The engraving might equally be connected with the Kinnaird portrait but the likeness in the former is not close and though the oil was thought at one time to represent Hogarth c.1730, the handling, when lent to the Tate, 1951, was not convincing as autograph. The wig in the engraving appears to be later than 1730. Lot 452 of the Ireland sale, unless it be the Kinnaird portrait, remains untraced.
The small head by Worlidge, now discounted, is said to represent Ashley, keeper of the punch house on Ludgate Hill. [8] It was first recorded in 1816 when engraved by T. Priscott from the collection of C. Dyer for the Claris Hogarthiana. [9] In certain later portraits, said to be of Hogarth, the diagonal scar is absent. Of these, the whole length by Soldi, 1739, exhibited 'English Taste in the 18th Century', RA, 1955 (11), when owned by Captain Wombwell, might represent the publisher Edward Cave [10] and the small head at Burghley, collection Marquess of Exeter, might rather be a sketch for some other composition by Hogarth, as yet unidentified.

1) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, 1930-55, VI, p 200.
2) J. Ireland, Hogarth Illustrated, 1791-98, I, p cxx.
3) J. B. Nichols, Anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1833, p 230.
4) Athenaeum, 24 October 1874, p 551.
5) J. Nichols and G. Steevens, The Genuine Works of William Hogarth, 1808-17, III, p 171.
6) Sale catalogue, NPG library.
7) J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, III, p 1385; J. Nichols and G. Steevens, The Genuine Works of William Hogarth, 1808-17, II, p 267; J. Nichols, Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1781, p 59, describes him as 'James Townley, proctor in Doctors Commons, ... brother Mr Townley, miniature-painter'; J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, III, p 1381, suggests ‘Revd. Mr. Townley' as Charles' father. The Rev. James Townley (d. 1778) was headmaster of Merchant Taylors School.
8) J. B. Nichols, Anecdotes of William Hogarth, 1833, p 335.
9) J. Nichols and G. Steevens, The Genuine Works of William Hogarth, 1808-17, III, frontispiece, and p 89.
10) Suggested by D. T. Piper.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.