Canvassing for Votes

Canvassing for Votes
, detail

February 1757. Fifth slate.
Engraving - H.40.3 X W.54cm

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764) England

A renowned political satirist, cartoonist, painter and engraver, Hogarth was a polemic artist who introduced the concept of moralizing into scenes of ordinary life.

This aspect of his work went on to influence artists such as Goya and Daumier. He questioned all parts of society and his works sermonize on a broad range of subjects, from the hypocrisy of upper class marriages in Marriage à-la-Mode to the evils of gin and alcoholism in Gin Lane. Here he questions the efficacy of the democratic system. All parties are corrupt; both Tory and Whig agents are approaching the farmer in the foreground. The Tory candidate behind them is buying gifts from a Jewish peddler to entice voters. Above him a show cloth satirizes the Duke of Newcastle, a liberal candidate, who is distributing bribes from a wheelbarrow.

In fact, is there any honesty or integrity in the system at all?



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