William Hogarth: Four Prints of an Election

(3834 words)

Hogarth’s four great paintings, and subsequent prints, of An Election were initially prompted by the General Election of April 1754, and specifically the contest for seats in Oxfordshire. However, although the four paintings, and especially the first, An Election Entertainment, grew out of this particular contest, Hogarth expanded the series into a satire on corrupt electoral processes in Britain generally rather than one on a particular occasion, so that by the time the series was complete it included references to events after the 1754 election and outside Oxfordshire. The set of four paintings and prints forms a satire on corruption in the organisation of society at large rather than on a moral failing in an …

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Gordon, Ian. "Four Prints of an Election". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5072, accessed 27 September 2016.]