William Hogarth (biography)Medium:
Lithograph print on PaperSize:
24" x 18" (610mm x 450mm)Date:
1975This is a print.The Polling
Voters are shown declaring their support for the Whigs (orange) or Tories (blue). Agents from both sides are using unscrupulous tactics to increase their votes or challenge opposing voters. A Whig voter with a hook instead of his amputated hand is being challenged because he is placing his hook, rather than his hand, as legally prescribed, on the book.
Meanwhile, the Tories are bringing a mentally disabled man to vote. A dying man is being carried in behind him. In the background a woman in a carriage with a broken axle stands for Britannia. Her coachmen are gambling, ignoring the fact that the carriage is broken.
This is one of a set of 4 high quality prints produced by Kingfisher. The Humours of an Election
is a series of four engravings by William Hogarth that illustrate the election of a Member of Parliament in Oxfordshire in 1754. The oil paintings were created in 1755 and subsequently Hogarth created the engravings.
At this time each constituency elected two MPs, and there was a property qualification for voters, so only a minority of the male population was enfranchised. There was no secret ballot, so bribery and intimidation were rife. However, this traditional view has been questioned by recent historians who observed a lively local political participation in this time.
The original paintings are held by Sir John Soane's Museum, London.
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