Politics in Print

 
Four Prints of an Election Plate I, An Election Entertainment
Title Four Prints of an Election Plate I, An Election Entertainment
Artist William Hogarth
Date 1755 (reprinted c. 1822)
Medium Etching and engraving
Location The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University

 


This series satirizes the notoriously violent and disorderly nature of the Oxfordshire election of 1754, in which the liberal Whigs, representing new interests, challenge the conservative Tories, the established ruling aristocracy. Hogarth attacks both political camps for losing sight of all common interest, working solely for egotistical, undemocratic ambitions. The excessive banquet of the two Whig candidates reveals the loss of political control. One of the two candidates seated under the party flag, reading 'Liberty and Loyalty,' gets his hand squeezed by a grinning cobbler, receiving, moreover, a cloud of pipe smoke in his eyes; the other candidate allows himself to be kissed by a fat, old and toothless woman for the sake of a vote.
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