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An 18th century copy of ‘The Painter and his Pug’

A mid-18th century copy of the famous 1745 Hogarth self-portrait, the artist within a feigned oval surrounded by drapery, dressed in banyan and cap, books and an artist’s palette inscribed with ‘The Line of Beauty and Grace’ to the left foreground and Trump the pug dog sitting to the right.

English School, oil on canvas, after William Hogarth, mid-18th century
The original of this famous portrait (now in the Tate) is one of Hogarth’s great pictures. The portrait itself is conceived in a still-life, the unframed canvas resting on volumes of Shakespeare, Milton and Swift. The palette, with its serpentine ‘Line of Beauty and Grace’ (for Hogarth, the fundamental principle of all beauty and harmony) is amusingly contrasted with the earthy figure of the much loved pug, Trump. Hogarth was fond of remarking on the pugnacious similarities between himself and his dog, shown here to humorous effect. As with many of his pictures, Hogarth clearly intended the painting to be engraved and a 1749 plate was used as the frontispiece to bound copies of his engraved works.

Interestingly, ‘and Grace’ from the inscription on the palette has been overpainted in the original, probably by Hogarth himself. Here the full inscription is retained intact. This may indicate a relatively early date for this copy.

Height (with frame): 103.5cm
Width (with frame): 84cm

Price: £12,000

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