Hogarth's series of four engravings 'The Times of the Day' are probably the most famous prints in his oeuvre. This matched set of the four is all in early lifetime impressions, before any of the later rework.
Hogarth conceived of the 'Times of the Day' as a 'progress' in the same way as his compositions for 'The Harlot's Progress' for example. They were a comment on moral degeneration. The concept of 'progressions' in a series of paintings, whether in the form of 'the seasons' or of the 'times of day' had a long history in European art before it was adopted by Hogarth. His revolutionary contribution to the genre was to transfer the settings from the traditional country landscapes, with the changing crops for example, to city views. He wrote that he considered the city to the landscape of the 18th century, the hub of life.
The portraits and social satires of William Hogarth, painter and engraver, have come to define the period in which he lived. His best known works include his series of satirical of paintings, such as ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ (c.1729, Birmingham City Art Gallery, private collection and National Gallery of Art, Washington) and ‘A Rake’s Progress’ (c.1734, Sir John Soane's Museum, London). He also painted formal portraits, including the philanthropist ‘Captain Thomas Coram’ (1740, Coram family, in the care of the Foundling Museum, London) and ‘The Graham Children’ (1742, National Gallery, London). Hogarth lived and worked in London for most of his life and was a major benefactor of the Foundling Museum during the 1740s, founded by Captain Coram.
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