Learning the language of any country is impossible without knowing its art. Painting of Great Britain helps you learn British culture and the British.

Painting in England in the 17 – 19th centuries is represented by a number of great artists and during that period it was greatly influenced by foreign painters.

The 18th century was the ‘gold age’ of English painting. At that period a truly national painting school was created. It gave to the world many brilliant painters.

 Read about William Hogarth English painter

William Hogarth (1697 – 1764) was the first man to raise British pictorial art to a level of importance. His early taste for drawing was remarkable but his success he attributed to hard labour. He wrote, “genius is nothing but labour and dilligence”.

William Hogarth was a great English painter and engraver, who is famous for his portrayals of human weaknesses.

He was born in London. His father was a school master. From childhood, Hogarth showed a talent for drawing. He was apprenticed to a silverplate engraver until 1720 when he went into his own business as an engraver. He also studied painting at the art school of Sir James Thornhill, and in 1729 he married Thornhill’s daughter.

William Hogarth “The Graham Children” 

Hogarth’s earliest completed series of six paintings for which he first became famous was The Harlot’s Progress, completed in 1731. This was followed by two other series, A Rake’s Progress, eight paintings, and Marriage a la Mode, six paintings. He made engravings of all these.

William Hogarth (; 10 November 1697 – 26 October 1764) was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist. His work ranges from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”, He is perhaps best known for his series A Harlot’s ProgressA Rake’s Progress and Marriage A-la-Mode. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as “Hogarthian”.

In his life Hogarth battled against oppression, cruelty and idleness of the rich. He depicted their behaviour in his canvases. Many fine portraits of common people belong to his brush. Such pictures as “The Shrimp Girl”, “Artist’s Servants” embody all the wit and vitality of the Londoners, their clarity and honesty. He was also fond of painting children and in his picture “The Graham Children” shows a delightfully gay young family, painted with admirable freshness.

The Shrimp Girl is a painting by the English artist William Hogarth. It was painted around 1740–45, and is held by the National Gallery, London. The painting, a relatively late work by Hogarth, is one of several in which he experimented with a loose, almost impressionistic style.

Hogarth painted portraits and historical canvases but he became famous because of his satirical works. His pictures of social life which he called ‘modern moral subject’ brought him fame and position. Among his favourite works are six pictures under the title ‘Marriage a la Mode’.

“The Marriage Contract” is the first of the series of Hogarth’s pictures forming the famous ‘Marriage a la Mode’. The subject of the picture is a protest against marriage for money and vanity.

Marriage A-la-mode The Tete A Tete

The second picture of the series depicts a family quarrel. The young people who married for money and vanity cannot be happy. In the centre of the picture “Calais Gate” a fat monk who is touching the piece of meat is a symbol greediness. In the picture “The Sleeping Congregation” the painter makes fun of rich proud citizens sleeping in the church during the sermon of a dull priest. Thus, Hogarth shows different representatives of English society, sometimes with love, sometimes with irony.

Hogarth’s works are mostly satirical caricatures. They became widely popular and mass-produced via prints in his lifetime, and he was by far the most significant English artist of his generation. Charles Lamb deemed Hogarth’s images to be books, filled with “the teeming, fruitful, suggestive meaning of words. Other pictures we look at; his pictures we read.”