Hogarth and Pine

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In 1748, the celebrated English artist and Francophobe, William Hogarth, surprisingly decided to take a holiday in France. His behaviour in France was appalling. He was ¡clamorously rude¢ to everyone he met. Whenever anybody admired a view, Hogarth sourly remarked: ¡What then? It is but French! Their houses are all gilt and bullshit!¢ Waiting in Calais for the boat home, Hogarth made sketches of some old fortifications, and was arrested as a spy.
Hogarth was infuriated by his treatment in Calais, and took revenge in one of his most vitriolic paintings, O, The Roast Beef of Old England or The Gate of Calais. In the corner of the painting, Hogarth is quietly drawing, about to be seized by some French soldiers. In the centre, a cook is carrying a huge joint of English beef. A fat friar slobbers over the juicy beef and lunges towards it. Hogarth used this image not only to mock ¡scanty French fare¢, but also to satirise the ¡farcical pomp of war, parade of religion …poverty, slavery and insolence¢, which he considered typical of France. Hogarth¢s painting embodies the violently anti-French and anti-Catholic prejudices which shaped British national identity in the middle of the 18th century.

Hogarth modelled the figure of the friar in O, The Roast Beef of Old England or The Gate of Calais on his friend, the artist John Pine (1690-1756). It was said that Pine pleaded with Hogarth not to mock him in this way, but Hogarth was unrelenting. Pine was known as ¡Friar Pine¢ for the rest of his life. Hogarth felt guilty about his treatment of his friend, and after Pine¢s death, painted an affectionate portrait of him in the style of Rembrandt. Hogarth and Pine had a great deal in common. They were both Londoners, and apprenticed to engravers.

Hogarth quickly tired of copying the ¡monsters of heraldry¢, but Pine became a leading heraldic artist, eventually joining the College of Arms. Both men sought to improve the professional status and education of English artists, helping to secure copyright legislation which protected artists¢ income. There were many social connections between the two men.

They caroused and argued in the London coffee houses, such as Slaughter¢s Coffee House in St Martin¢s Lane. Pine and Hogarth also both took part in London¢s new social craze of the 1720s: Freemasonry. Pine was one of the most accomplished engravers of his generation, but lacked Hogarth¢s flair and originality. Whereas Hogarth¢s artistic achievement was very coherent and distinctive, Pine¢s output was more wide-ranging, comprising not only book illustration, but also heraldry, maps and facsimiles of historical documents.

Hogarth developed an original and aggressively English style. Pine¢s work is less personal, and more reliant on classical and continental models. Pine has never emerged from the shadow of Hogarth, and his artistic achievements are not widely known. Pine¢s parents were Londoners. It has been suggested on the basis of Pine¢s appearance in Hogarth¢s portrait of him that Pine had black ancestors, but no firm evidence to support this has been found. At the age of 19, Pine was apprenticed to a London goldsmith, and became a freeman of the city in 1718. http://www.mqmagazine.co.uk/issue-10/p-07.php

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