William Hogarth, An Election
Hogarth's Election series was inspired by the notorious Oxfordshire contest in the General Election of 1754. The seats had been held, uncontested, by the Tories, since 1710. Then in 1752 the Whigs, who already held a large majority in Parliament, decided to contest the Oxfordshire seats and this heralded a two-year campaign characterised by unprecedented levels of bribery and corruption. These prints are based on the four paintings Hogarth started not long after the General Election. By this time the events in Oxfordshire had been widely publicised through journals and pamphlets. The paintings were bought from Hogarth by the actor David Garrick and later acquired by John Soane at an auction of the effects of Mrs Garrick in 1823. The Gentleman's Magazine had been critical of Hogarth’s work calling it, ‘the very many disgusting, if not depraved exhibitions of human nature' in the paintings.
Finally published as a whole in 1758, this series allowed Hogarth to satirise politics. Framed