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Hogarth, The Four Times of the Day
Set of four prints after William Hogarth, showing the four times of the day during different seasons of the year.
Published c1799 by G. G. & I. Robinson, with old hand-colour.
Unlike many of Hogarth's other works, such as A Harlot’s Progress and Marriage A-La-Mode, this series does not depict the story of an individual, but instead focuses on the society of the city. Hogarth intended the series to be humorous rather than morally instructive. The four pictures depict scenes of daily life in various locations in London as the day progresses. Morning shows a prudish spinster making her way to church in Covent Garden past the revellers of the previous night; Noon shows two cultures on opposite sides of the street in St Giles; Evening depicts a dyer's family returning hot and bothered from a trip to Sadler's Wells; and Night shows a drunken freemason staggering home from a night of celebration.
Hogarth is believed to have suggested to Tyers that the supper boxes at Gardens be decorated with paintings as part of their refurbishment; among the works featured when the renovation was completed was Hogarth's picture of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The originals of Four Times of the Day were sold to other collectors, but the scenes were reproduced at Vauxhall by Francis Hayman, and two of them, Evening and Night, hung at the pleasure gardens until at least 1782