The Soane Hogarths' by Christina Scull was first published in 1991. This new revised edition contains 72 pages and 103 illustrations, of which 52 are in colour, including 5 full-page details at life-size. 'A Rake's Progress' (1734-5) and 'An Election' (1755) are the most famous of William Hogarth's series of 39 modern moral subjects. Hazlitt described Hogarth's 23 paintings as 'A perpetual collision of eccentricities, a tilt and tournament of absurdities, the prejudices and caprices of mankind let loose'. They still delight 'interest and amuse as much today as two hundred years ago and the biting quality of their moral satire is undiminished.
The two series were purchased in the early nineteenth century by the architect Sir John Soane' who regarded them as amongst his greatest treasures. The only other complete Hogarth series to survive is 'Marriage A-la-mode' in the National Gallery London. In this book Christina Scull sets the paintings in the context of Hogarth's life and times and of his other moral series 'A Harlot's Progress' and 'Marriage A-la-mode' and gives a detailed account of their narrative and contents. The eight paintings of 'A Rake's Progress' and the four paintings of 'An Election' are all illustrated in colour together with many of the engravings - authorised as well as pirate editions - based on them. Since this volume was first published in 1991, the celebrity status of the Soane Hogarths has continued to grow. In 1997 'A Rake's Progress' featured in a special exhibition at the Museum together with the precursors and successors of Hogarth's great social satire. The crowds flocked to the Gallery and the catalogue sold out within weeks.
In 2001 'General Election year in Britain' 'An Election' was given its own show which proved a soothing tonic for a nation weary of politicians and their antics.
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