A Midnight Modern Conversation

William Hogarth British

Not on view

Hogarth applies an ironic title to this representation of men drinking in a panelled room perhaps intended for St. John's Coffee-house, Temple Bar, London. The clock indicates four in the morning and eleven men are shown around a table in different stages of drunkeness, having gathered at midnight. A punchbowl decorated with Chinese figures appears at the center of the table, ande empty bottles piled on the floor and mantelpiece testify to many rounds of punch consumed, as does the overflowing chamber pot at lower right. Britain at this period followed the Julian calendar, according to which New Year's fell on March 25th. So, while Hogarth's print was published on March 1, 1732 under that system, today it is considered to have been issued in 1733 (the Gregorian calendar, which treats calculates the turn of the year on January 1st was adopted in 1752).

A Midnight Modern Conversation, William Hogarth (British, London 1697–1764 London), Etching and engraving; second state of three

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