Death by Hogarth
Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell
March 11, 1999
72 pages, 9 1/2 x 10 1/2
38 b/w illus.
Published in association with the Harvard Art Museum
The great British satirist William Hogarth (1697–1764) addressed his country’s moral condition in prints of exquisite detail and contrast. This book examines such prints that address the theme of “execution” in three senses—performance, death by official order, and carrying a plan through to its natural end. Pride of place is given to images of hanging. In early modern England, public execution was an amusement as popular as pleasure gardens, fairs, and theater extravaganzas. Hogarth fleshed out numerous print narratives with references to criminal culture and the melodramatic rituals surrounding the act of execution. With forty-two entries and three short essays, this volume is the catalogue of a Harvard University Art Museums exhibition organized by curatorial intern Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell. The prints are from the collection of Suzanne and Gerald Labiner and from various Harvard collections.
Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, who at the time of publication was Lynn and Philip A. Straus Intern in the Print Department at the Harvard University Art Museums, is now is Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator of Drawings, Prints, and Photographs at Stanford University's Canton Arts Center.