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Oil painting - The Affiliation (after William Hogarth)
  • The Affiliation (after William Hogarth)
    Collett, John
  • Enlarge image

The Affiliation (after William Hogarth)

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1725-1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Collett, John (painter (artist))
    Hogarth, William, born 1697 - died 10 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:

    DYCE.21

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Osterley Park House, London

Physical description

The Affiliation by John Collett (1725-1780) after William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764); oil on canvas;

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1725-1780 (made)

Artist/maker

Collett, John (painter (artist))
Hogarth, William, born 1697 - died 10 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 17.5 in estimate, Width: 24 in estimate

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce, 1869.

The Reverend Alexander Dyce :
South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks. The Dyce and Forster Collections. With Engravings and Facsimiles. Published for the Committee of Council on Education by Chapman and Hall, Limited, 193, Piccadilly, London. 1880. Chapter I. Biographical Sketch of Mr. Dyce. pp.1-12, including 'Portrait of Mr. Dyce' illustrated opposite p.1.

Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council on Education, South Kensington Museum.A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings... Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London, 1874. A 'Note' on page v comments, 'This catalogue refers to the Art portion of the Collection bequeathed to the South Kensington Museum by the Reverend Alexander Dyce, the well-known Shakespearian scholar, who died May 15, 1869'. The Catalogue. Paintings, Miniatures, &c. by Samuel Redgrave notes of the 'Oil Paintings', 'The strength of Mr. Dyce's valuable bequest to Department of Science and Art does not lie in [this] portion ... which is in its nature of a very miscellaneous character. The collection was made apparently as objects offered themselves, and without any special design.' Dyce's main interest was in literary subjects, and this is reflected in many of the paintings he bequeathed to the V&A.

This is the only painting by Collet in the Dyce collection.

Historical significance: John Collet (c.1725-1780) was born in London. He studied under the landscape painter George Lambert as well as attending the St Martin's Lane Academy. Collet is first documented exhibiting in 1761, when he showed three landscapes at the exhibition of the Free Society of Artists. The follwing year his painting titled A Gypsy Telling Some Country Girls their fortune, also exhibited at the Free Society of Artists, demonstrates that the artist's style was developing away from landscape towards genre and humorous scenes. During his lifetime, Collet was compared to the established master of such genre scenes, William Hogarth (1697-1764). Collet's work ranges from scenes of low life to observations of the social behaviour of upper and middle classes. His paintings enjoyed growing popularity resulting in a number of his works being reproduced as prints.

The Affiliation is a copy after Hogarth's painting The Denunciation (or A Woman Swearing a Child to a Grave Citizen at the National Gallery of Ireland, (inventory number: NGI.618). In 1729 Hogarth exhibited and auctioned The Denunciation along with The Christening (private collection) at his Covent Garden studio. The subject matter and representation of these works suggests that they were conceived as a pair, with the Christening following the Denunciation in progress of events presented in these two works.

The Denunciation presents a guilty and innocent party in this satirical look at contemporary life. The scene is set in the interior of magistrate's office. At the right of the group a heavily pregnant woman swears, with her right hand placed on the bible, before a magistrate that the centrally placed man is the father of her child. The accused is shown throwing his hands up in horror whilst his wife runs at him in anger. Standing just behind the young woman is her lover, the true culprit of her condition. He remains just outside the main group, elegantly inclining his head towards the young woman to instruct her on what she has to say. The magistrate is shown listening attentively, oblivious of the miscarriage of justice that is being conducted before him. This is parodied by the child sat to the side of the magistrate who is shown teaching a spaniel to sit up and beg.

As with The Christening, the The Denunciation draws on the theatre for its composition. Here the figures, as Hogarth wrote, are presented 'As actors dressed for the sublime genteel comedy.' (See: Bindman, p.36). The setting also appears to be that of a stage for such a comedy. This is partly conveyed by a curtain being drawn back behind the magistrate and two fashionable society figureslooking on at the scene from the bottom left corner and emphasising our own roles as voyeurs of this event. The Christening, the The Denunciation is an example of Hogarth early scenes of everyday life, which he began to produce following the success of the Beggar's Opera. They can be seen as anticipating his later cycles of A Harlot's Progress (destroyed in 1755 but surviving in prints published in 1735) and The Rake's Progress (Sir John Soane's Museum) produced in the 1730s.

Although he trained and began exhibiting as a landscape artist, Collet changed direction to produce genre scenes as early as 1762. These scenes continued the tradition that Hogarth had established in his paintings and prints in the 1730s. It is perhaps no surprise that Collet therefore chose to produce the Affiliation after the The Denunciation. Although Hogarth made a number of his paintings available to a wider audience by reproducing them in print no known engraving is known to have been made after The Denunciation. It is therefore likely that Collet had access to the original painting.

Comparing Hogarth's The Denunciation with Collet's later version there are a number of slight differences. For example Collet has changed the colour of the dress of the figures. His use of red for the suit of the fallen girl's lover and the curtain behind the magistrate effectively frames the central figures in the scene. The girl teaching her spaniel to sit is shown in the Collet version without a bonnet. Within the setting Collet has also made a number of subtle changes. For example the chair in the right foreground is painted in black with a red velvet cushion, unlike the upholstered red chair in Hogarth's work. Also Collet defines the maps of the globe, hung on the back wall, by giving more space to them and placing them on a darker mount within their frame. Similarly Collet introduces red into the coat of arms over the door in order to draw our attention to its presence within the scene.

The most significant difference of these two paintings is in the artists' representation of the figures. This can be seen particularly in the figure of the lover. In The Affiliation, Collet presents this figure standing further behind the young woman. This places her directly between the real father of her child and the man whom she accuses to be the father. At the same time it shows the youth's reluctance to acknowledge having fathered his lover's child by showing him at the edge of the group. The figures in Collet's painting are also represented with more delicacy. For example the way that the youth steps behind his lover and gently inclines his head towards her has the elegance of contemporary dance steps such as the minuet. Similarly the gesture of the angry wife as she rushes at her husband and the young girl concentrating on instructing her pet dog are done with more fluidity than in Hogarth's earlier version of this painting. It is probable that Collet, aware of Hogarth's ouevre, chose to revisit this painting, refining its presentation to appeal to a mid eighteenth-century audience.

References

David Bindman, Hogarth, London, 1981.

Historical context note

“Genre”, derived from the French for ‘variety’ or ‘type’ is the term used for scenes of everyday life. In classical antiquity it was seen as a low form of the arts. This attitude was inherited by Renaissance theorists. The term was used until the late eighteenth century to describe subjects including animal, landscape and still-life paintings, all of which were seen as minor subjects. The seventeenth century saw a rise in genre painting in the Netherlands. This was partly due to the fact that artists were responding to the taste of their bourgeoisie patrons, unlike patrons in Catholic Europe who were working almost entirely for the Church and court. Despite academic opposition demand for small cabinet paintings in Europe resulted in a growing popularity for the genre in the eighteenth century.

The different hierarchies of genre remained powerful in art during eighteenth-century England. British artists aspired to the grand manner of Italian art, as described in Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses on Art given in London in 1778. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the art of William Hogarth sought to challenge this hierarchy. With his paintings such as The Rake’s Progress (London, Soanes Museum) and Marriage à la Mode (London, National Gallery) Hogarth aimed to elevate genre to the same status as History paintings. These modern moral subjects drew from the theatre for their stage-like settings and compositions of figures in dramatic gestures. These paintings introduced scenes of debauchery and often combine complex symbols that make topical references. Hogarth’s style continued to influence genre paintings throughout the eighteenth century.

Descriptive line

The Affiliation by John Collett (1725-1780) after William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764); oil on canvas; Britain; 18th century.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Figures (representations); Marriage

Categories

Images Online; Paintings; Marriage

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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