Detail from an etching by Hogarth c.1749, published 1782, showing the house (in shade) seen from the north.
The painter, engraver and art theorist William Hogarth (1697-1764) bought this house in September 1749, when he was at the peak of his success as an artist. Here, in the small village of Chiswick, he was near his friends Dr John Ranby, sergeant-surgeon to the king, and Dr Thomas Morell, a classicist and one of Handel's librettists. At Lord Burlington's Palladian villa, Chiswick House, a short walk away. Hogarth's friend the actor David Garrick (1717-1779) was a regular visitor. He brought Hogarth elegant urns for his gateposts. William Kent (c.1685-1748), who had helped Burlington design his gardens, was loathed by Hogarth, but died the year before the Hogarths arrived. Members of the Hogarth family used this as their second home until 1808. The day before Hogarth died in 1764 he was working on his copper plates in the studio over the stables in the garden of the house. Though this is no longer standing, it was observed by a visitor in 1853. The combination of a large window and narrow stairway led this commentator to suggest that "his paintings [...] would be let down through this window, for transmission, in his carriage, to town".
Recent archaeological excavations have uncovered the footings of this building. It is probably contemporary with the House, which was completed about 1717. Restored and opened as a museum in 1904 by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert William Shipway, the House today displays a range of Hogarth's prints, as well as items from both his domestic and artistic life, with furniture commissioned by Shipway from The Chiswick Art-Workers' Guild to replicate items in Hogarth's works. The House re-opened following a major refurbishment in 2011. Work began in 2015 on creating an 'exhibition garden' to present its whole story including the location of the studio. The project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hounslow Council and the William Hogarth Trust, marks the 300th anniversary of the House.
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Modern view of the house looking up from the original site of the studio. Photo © Katri Salonen
Detail from Hogarth's etching showing Chiswick (c.1749)