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William Hogarth
Chairing the Member (Print)

Chairing the Member (Print) by William Hogarth at The Illustration Art Gallery

Ref: Hogarth4 (Click for LARGE picture)

Artist: William Hogarth (biography)
Medium: Lithograph print on Paper
Size: 24" x 18" (610mm x 450mm)
Date: 1975

This is a print.

Chairing the Member shows one of the victorious Tory candidates being carried through the streets on a chair in a traditional ceremony. He is about to tumble down because one of his carriers has just been accidentally hit on the head by a flail carried by a Tory-supporting rural labourer who is attempting to fight off a Whig supporter (an old sailor with a bear).

A group of frightened pigs run across the scene in a reference to the story of the Gadarene swine. The Whig leaders watch from a nearby house. At the right two young chimney sweeps urinate on the bear.

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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William Hogarth

William Hogarth