William Hogarth, Hogarth Painting the Comic Muse

Hogarth Painting the Comic Muse, 1758

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

RA Collection: Art

Early state of William Hogarth's engraving reproducing his last self portrait, Self-Portrait of William Hogarth Painting the Comic Muse (1757-8, National Portrait Gallery, London). The engraving elaborates on the painting by including a paint pot (lower left) and a copy of Hogarth's treatise The Analysis of Beauty (lower right).

The portrait was published in order to replace the earlier Self-portrait with Pug as frontispiece to bound volumes of his prints (the function is placed at the beginning of an album alongside the earlier self-portrait).

In subsequent years Hogarth put the print through four further states. The title was changed in the final state to 'William Hogarth 1764', and alterations were made to the mask held by the figure of Comedy which the artist sketches on an easel. In early states, as in the painting, the mask is conventional, but in the final state the mask has horns and the expression of a satyr. Paulson explains this as 'another of the pessimistic revisions of Hogarth's last year'.

Object details

Hogarth Painting the Comic Muse
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Object type
Place of Publication

372 mm x 341 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
This image is from a book

Hogarth's prints. Vol. I. - [s.l.]: [n.d.]

Click here to view the book

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