Hogarth Reconsidered

Theatricality and Narrative

David Garrick in the Character of Richard III [1746] Hogarth's prints depict an expressive body language of gesture and pose drawn not only from the streets of London, but also from theatrical conventions of the period. With his modern moral subjects, he invented print series which resemble the structure of a play, with each print containing the narrative density of one scene on stage. In his autobiographical notes, Hogarth refers to his prints as a stage: "my Picture was my Stage and men and women my actors who were, by Means of certain Actions and expressions to Exhibit a dumb Shew." It is therefore no surprise that his work was adapted to the stage during his lifetime.

David Garrick in the Character of Richard III [1746]

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