As he does his satirical attacks in drawing/painting, his rivals does him the same courtesy in print, attacking his perceptions that he is an authority in aesthetics. He was even alleged of plagiarism and many notes that his Line of Beauty was preposterously simplistic and unsophisticated. During this time the economic boom that England was facing also created new social classes that were eager to prove themselves worthy by acquiring artworks that will be their insignia for their new and recently acquired status, thereby showing their purchasing capabilities.
It might be said that the market for new works of art was increasing and becoming more and more lucrative, but one can conclude that the taste of these new set of buyers leaves a lot to be desired. With his treatise at his feet, the artist sat before his easel revealing his readiness to paint, here Hogarth presented the fullest appearance of his ideas, his connection to aesthetic beauty are derivatives of reality, experienced visual stimulation and the supremacy of the serpentine line. Hogarth hoped to achieve the recognition as a major doctrinaire of the baroque and the rococo
The Shrimp Girl’ (Figure 1. 5) most probably is a late work by the Hogarth, estimated to have been done during the 1740s, when Hogarth experimented with his paintings making use of an increasingly liberated brush. His painting represented a woman who was trading shellfish on the streets of London, normally a career for the wives and daughters of fish mongers who possess stalls in markets such as Billingsgate. The woman in focus balances a large basket on her head, bearing shrimps and mussels, together with a half-pint pewter pot as a measure.
Considering the size of the picture, it suggests that the drawing was planned as a portrait, rather than a draft for a larger work. This painting might have been an experiment and was not really finished, and that can be the reason why the painting stayed with his estate even after his death His widow, Jane, was said to have told visitors on showing the picture to them: ‘They say he could not paint flesh. There is flesh and blood for you: – them! ‘ Gin Lane was set in the parish of St. Giles, a slum district of Hogarth’s time, he used it several times in his work.
It can be surmised that Gin Lane was the epitome of the nastiness and despair of a gin raised community. One might see that desperation, dismay and death cover the painting. The only business that was flourishing was that of the Gin industry, gin sellers and distillers, pawnbrokers who prey on addicted gin drinkers pawning off even their wives cooking utensils. The most striking of the scene is the woman in the centre, who drunk from gin and driven to prostitution to support her drunken habit, which can be surmised secondary to the sores found in her legs, allows her baby to slip from her hands and plunge to his death towards a gin cellar.
Semi-naked, she cares not for herself or her infant baby but for a taste of gin . Now, in stark contrast to the dump that is portrayed on Gin Lane, the people of Beer street are happy and shining with health and vitality. “Here is all is joyous and thriving. Industry and jollity go hand in hand. ” Ultimately different from Gin Lane, the only business that isn’t flourishing on Beer Street is the pawnbroker. The rest of the scene is inhabited with good-humoured Englishmen who are no doubt drinking and toasting to their health.
It seems like its George II’s birthday – as designated by the flag soaring on the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in the background. Under the sign of the “Barley Mow”, a blacksmith is sitting with a foaming tankard in one hand and a leg of ham in the other, signalling prosperity, the blacksmith with a butcher – his knife hanging at his side -they laugh with the drayman as he distracts a maid from her chores. It is noticed that the citizens depicted in the two artworks, Beer Street and Gin Lane are drinking instead of working, but it must be realized that the citizen in Beer Street are resting after their hard day’s labour.
It was surmised as such since those shown in the artwork are, one, in their place of work and two, have the tools of their trade about them – while citizens in Gin Lane the people only drink and not work. Of course there are exceptions to the rules, that much is obvious, it comes in the shape of those who earn from the vice shown in Gin Lane. In his depiction, Beer Street gave Hogarth the occasion to make one more satirical declaration.
Aside from the enigmatic sign-painter, who’s purpose in the scene eludes the authors, the only others occupied by work in the scene were the tailors that can be privy in an attic. Hogarth may have deliberately put them there since during the creation of the artwork, the wages of journeyman tailors were the subject of ongoing argument, which was settled by negotiations during the 1751 July Quarter sessions, the ruling favoured he journeymen in this instance. Here Hogarth proved the enduring hustle while all other residents of the street which includes their masters, take a break to renew themselves.
The image provide as a counterpart to the more influential Gin Lane portrait — it was Hogarth’s intention to publish Beer Street first to give Gin Lane more impact when it is finally viewed by the public – but one can surmise that Beer Lane can also be a celebration of Englishness and let everyone realize the value of being cultivated by the native beer. It might be construed as no foreign influence pollutes what might be thought of as a nationalistic image. A draft of the painting depicted that of a French national being removed from the scene by a burly blacksmith, who was later on depicted as the one holding the ham.
The King’s declaration is exhibited on the table in references to the “Advancement of Our Commerce and the cultivating Art of Peace”; and although the workforce has taken a break, one might notice that they do not sit still. The building employees did not leave their workplace to get drunk; the chief tailor toasts them from his windowpane but does not go home. The men that can be seen sitting around the table in the centre of the picture have not put down their tools, indicting the plan to get back to work, proving the English are hard workers.