William Hogarth, The Polling (Four Prints of an Election, plate 3)

The Polling (Four Prints of an Election, plate 3), 1758

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

RA Collection: Art

Engraving after the third of William Hogarth's four paintings The Humours of an Election (1754-5), his last painted cycle responding to current affairs. The paintings are now in Sir John Soane's Museum, London, alongside another of Hogarth's celebrated cycles, A Rake's Progress.

The Humours of an Election was inspired by the notorious Oxfordshire election of 1754, in which the Whigs decided to challenge the Tory stronghold of Oxford by contesting the election, leading to a disputed result and Parliament deciding on the winner (the Whig majority in the House of Commons backing their own candidate). Hogarth depicts the four 'humours' of an election, and in this picture he scrutinises the electoral process itself. The scene is a polling booth on election day, with the two candidates (shown in the previous plates) seated at the back of the booth. Both parties have roped in anyone eligible to vote, including the mad, sick and criminal, to help them to victory.

The print is dedicated to Sir Edward Walpole, son of Sir Robert and a consistent governor supporter, as well as a collector of Hogarth's paintings.

Object details

The Polling (Four Prints of an Election, plate 3)
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Engraved by
Object type

405 mm x 540 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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