In its show Characters and Caricatures, Eames Fine Art of Bermondsey, south London, offers a selection of prints, including scenes from his famous Harlot’s Progress. This was the earliest of his series of moralising works tracking a character’s loss of innocence, ‘rise’ and fall. In this set six scenes depict the life of a country girl who becomes a prostitute and ultimately dies from venereal disease.
The paintings for Harlot’s Progress were destroyed in a fire in 1755, making prints such as these among the closest versions to the originals now available.
Both examples pictured here are not lifetime editions but versions made from the original plates and restored by the engraver James Heath (1757-1834) in 1822.
Recently Sir John Soane’s Museum held Hogarth: Place and Progress. The show illustrated how geographical movement in his series across the capital (from the City to the West End and back again) mirrored the characters’ changing fortunes. The still-recognisable locations depicted – such as Drury Lane and St James’s Palace – may add another layer of interest for London buyers.
Most are available for prices from £200-490 at the show which runs until February 2.