The Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, Lord Bishop of Winchester Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Aet. 67 AD. 1743.

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The Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, Lord Bishop of Winchester Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Aet. 67 AD. 1743.
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Bernard Baron after William Hogarth
The Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, Lord Bishop of Winchester Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Aet. 67 AD. 1743.
London, July 1743 - c.1750
Copper engraving
430x295mm
£120
A fine lifetime impression.
A three quarter length, seated portrait of Hogarth’s friend Bishop Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761). He is splendidly dressed in his Garter robes above his billowing bishop’s sleeves, robes and bands, and he is enthroned in a gilt armchair. Hoadly was famous for his ugliness but Hogarth has depicted him in a kindly manner, with a round smiling face topped by a short wig. At his left hand is a large book and in the background is a draped curtain and a stained glass window depicting St Paul and the Arms of the See of Winchester. However, George II disliked Hoadly and attacked him in a diatribe to Lord Hervey thus ‘Pray what is it that charms you in him ? His pretty limping gait ? Or his nasty stinking breath ? - phaugh - or his silly laugh when he grins in your face for nothing, and shews his nasty rotten teeth ?’ &c. &c. Hoadly was a Deist-Latitudinarian in theology, a Whig in politics and a sybarite in lifestyle. Intensely ambitious, he had risen from one bishopric to another from Bangor to Hereford to Salisbury finishing up with Winchester and the Chaplaincy of the Garter. Notorious as an absentee bishop, Hoadly lived comfortably in London, as his many physical infirmities prevented much travel. This portrait has been called ‘perhaps the most savage indictment of the eighteenth century church’, but Hogarth was principally concerned with the irony of Hoadly’s ugliness and frailty, in juxtaposition to the splendour of his worldly trappings. (See Hogarth: High Art and Low, 1732-1750 by Ronald Paulson).