The exhibition about Children in Chiswick at Hogarth’s House closes on 2 November. This project was supported by the William Hogarth Trust and the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society. A small team with members from each organisation provided detailed information for the exhibition, researching the parish records, the census and the collection at Chiswick Local History Society. Now a new book by Val Bott is available on the same theme, beautifully designed and illustrated throughout in colour, on sale at the House for £5.50.
The exhibition is the last of the projects which was promised when Hounslow Council’s application for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was submitted. Inspired by William and Jane Hogarths’ love of children – they had none of their own but fostered children from the Foundling Hospital – the exhibition looks at children’s work and play, life and death, education and their names over 150 years. A great deal is packed into a small space and visitors seem to be particularly interested in the names!
The House is open Tuesday to Sunday 12 noon to 5pm, admission free.
The Trust is pleased to report the completion of another project. Visitors to Hogarth’s House who enter at the small gate near the front door now have an experience which has not been possible since at least 1903!
Chiswick Local Studies Library, Hounslow Council
Two elegant urns were given by David Garrick, the celebrated actor, to his great friend William Hogarth between 1749, when the Hogarths acquired their second home in Chiswick, and the artist’s death in 1764. They were placed on the gate piers and can be seen in 19th century photographs and engravings of the House. The lead urns were carefully removed and brought inside for preservation when Lieut-Colonel Shipway of Grove House began creating a museum there.
The urns have swags of fruit and artichoke finials, symbols of a productive garden. The Hogarths had fruit trees, including the mulberry which is probably older than the House, and a “nut walk” where Hogarth played nine pins or skittles, but we do not know if they grew artichokes, which had been introduced to England in Henry VIII’s reign.
The urns were moved to Gunnersbury Park Museum in 1997; one had lost a finial and both were battered and slightly lop-sided, very much in need of conservation work.
Rosalind Elliott led the fund-raising for the Trust, obtaining generous donations from a number of private individuals, some from the theatre world, as well from the Garrick Club. Grants also came from the Leche Trust and the Old Chiswick Protection Society.
The urns have been conserved and careful replicas have been made from Jesmonite, a high quality modern resin, so that the originals are not put at risk out of doors. The Trust commissioned the work from Plowden & Smith who carried it out beautifully.
The replicas were unveiled on 17 June 2013 and formally donated to the Hogarth’s House Trust (registered charity no 1010069) of which Hounslow Council is the trustee, in the presence of a number of the donors who supported the project. The William Hogarth Trust hopes in the near future to be able to create more replica urns to raise funds to support its work.