THE TIMES OF THE DAY
( AND THE YEAR )
Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). The Times of Day. Set of 4 sheet. Engravings by Thomas Cook (c. 1744 – London 1818). Inscribed: Hogarth pinxt. / (T.) Cook sculp(t). / Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme Jan(y). 1st./March 2nd./July 1st. 1807., otherwise with the respective time of the day. Picture size 6⅝-6⅞ × 5½-5⅝ in (16.7-17.4 × 13.9-14.3 cm).
The famous set of the Four Times of Day including, though backwards, the seasons of the year, here in Cook’s (“made himself a name as Hogarth engraver, too”, Thieme-Becker) smaller repetition. – Trimmed within the slightly foxing wide white platemarks.
The set conveys the impression the whole London activity exclusively takes place in restaurants , with eating , drinking , and amusement. And in fact : the action has a real background .
So the publication of the sheet Morning (Winter) with Tom King’s Coffee House, Covent Garden, amidst the busy activity of the herb-market in the year 1738 by Hogarth obviously effected the closure by the police of the notorious low dive and the conviction of Tom King’s widow.
On the Noon sheet (Autumn) amidst the French quarter around the Hog Lane St Giles’ John Bull’s earthy world meets the French affectation, interesting the single person in freemasonry habit while Evening (Summer) sets a memorial for the not quite on the level place of entertainment of the Sadlers Wells Theatre before London’s gates.
Sheet Night (Spring) finally describes the night after May 29 that re-established the monarchy and with it Charles II.
Not to be missed finally
the acting exponents of the honorable classes :
So on Covent Garden the notorious doctor Richard Rock from Hamburg stands in own person (had, according to Catalogue Zurich 1983, “invented pills against the venereal disease which he boosted in the then London papers” and had, so Lichtenberg, fled from Hamburg “to escape a prosecution for his tooth-powder from human skulls”, only to pass away in London – after he had practiced there for some time “for life and death” because of another collar than that one also propagated by him as to fight rickets), praising by board a panacea, while the cuckolded husband of the 3rd sheet is a deceived dyer.
In this regard most plentiful though the bursting scene of the night near Charing Cross with the drunken freemason, led home by the usher and equipped with leather apron and composing stick, in which one recognized “Sir Thomas de Veil, the Justice of the Peace of Bow Street” whose uncompromising action against drunkenness had the mob set his house ablaze, at which the fire in the background alludes to. At the head of the Justice of the Peace quenched himself from above the board of a barber hard-working at night, too, promising “shaving, blood-letting and tooth extraction with one jerk”, of which two of the operations, that is shaving + blood-letting, just happen with the promised jerk. “The journeyman who carries out the execution, is, as one can see from the comb, also hairdresser. If one compares the flooding mouth of the guy and his shearing knife bowed in a rectangle with mouth and composing stick of Sir Thomas one is almost eager to believe he also belongs to the lodge …”
To the left of the same sheet the “Flying Mail-Coach of Salisbury” deserves every attention. For it has been crashed exactly below the portrait of its inventor, the Earl of Cardegan. But not enough with this it is bound for further ruin by one of the fire-crackers set alight lower right. And thus will barely be able to keep up to her flying promise. “The German mail-coach is the smartest, it does not promise anything, and thus can do what it likes” (Lichtenberg).
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