Time Smoking a Picture

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Time Smoking a Picture
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William Hogarth

Time Smoking a Picture

London, Baldwin, Craddock & Joy, 1822

Copper engraving and mezzotint



The winged figure of Father Time sits on the kouros of a (fake) Greek statue smoking a long clay pipe at the wet varnish of a large 'dark' painting, similar to a Claud le Lorrain landscape. Time's scythe pierces the canvas and to the left of the easel is large jar of Varnish. Smoking at a picture was a common method employed by forgers to artificially age the painting. It was Hogarth's favourite complaint that the public seemed to prefer to buy these fake old masters rather than patronise contemporary British artists like himself. Paulson 208 III/III.