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The Four Times of Day: Morning

Accession Number
1971/2.56

Title
The Four Times of Day: Morning

Artist(s)
William Hogarth

Object Creation Date
1738

Medium & Support
etching and engraving on laid paper

Dimensions
18 1/4 in. x 15 5/8 in. ( 46.4 cm x 39.7 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy

[Hogarth intro label]
Hogarth created several series of images, such as The Rake’s Progress and Marriage à la Mode, satirizing the mores and values of eighteenth-century England. In The Four Times of Day—a series of prints made after his paintings and intended for a wider audience—Hogarth employed humor both to comment on contemporary society and to breathe new life into the genre of images that marks the progression of time by depicting the seasons, the stages of life, or the times of day.
Turning a long tradition on its head, Hogarth’s portrayals of the times of day (morning, noon, evening, and night) are situated in specific locations in contemporary London rather than an in idealized classical past. Each of the sites he chose was considered disreputable in its day and the congested settings act as foils and contexts for the figures. In this way the pastoral, eternal, and ideal images of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses so often encountered in traditional paintings in this genre become urban, specific, and comic. In addition to creating a specifically English kind of imagery, Hogarth disrupts the tradition linking the times of day with particular seasons, i.e. morning with spring, midday with summer, evening with fall, and night with winter. Instead his cycle begins with winter, which he links to morning, and ends with autumn, which he links to night.
William Hogarth
England, 1697–1764
The Four Times of Day: Morning
1738
Etching and engraving
Museum purchase, 1971/2.56
Here the traditional figure of dawn, Aurora, is replaced by a thin woman seen in profile crossing a square in Covent Garden, a formerly aristocratic part of London that by the eighteenth century housed a fruit and vegetable market as well as taverns, theatres, and brothels. The scene is peopled with prostitutes, and the infamous tavern Tom King’s Coffee House, with a group of revelers in the doorway, eclipses the church of St. Paul. Though morning is usually linked with spring and the idea of new life, this scene is set in winter, which is indicated by the snow on the rooftops and people warming their hands over a fire.
Gallery Rotation Winter 2011
William Hogarth
England, 1697–1764
The Four Times of Day: Morning
1738
Etching and engraving
Museum purchase, 1971/2.56
Here the traditional figure of dawn, Aurora, is replaced by a thin woman seen in profile crossing a square in Covent Garden, a formerly aristocratic part of London that by the eighteenth century housed a fruit and vegetable market as well as taverns, theatres, and brothels. The scene is peopled with prostitutes, and the infamous tavern Tom King’s Coffee House, with a group of revelers in the doorway, eclipses the church of St. Paul. Though morning is usually linked with spring and the idea of new life, this scene is set in winter, which is indicated by the snow on the rooftops and people warming their hands over a fire.

Subject matter
Hogarth created several print series that satirize mores and values of 18th century England. In his suite, "The Four Times of Day," executed after a series of paintings, he employed humor, not just to comment on London society but to breathe new life into images marking the times of day. Hogarth translated portrayals of the times of the day from their pastoral origins to that of contemporary London. The pastoral, eternal and ideal here become urban, specific and comic. Each of the London sites shown in this series was considered disreputable in its day and the congested setting acts as a foil and context for the figures.
Morning- Set in Covent Garden, the traditional figure of dawn, Aurora, is replaced by a thin woman seen in profile. Rather than a springtime embodying new life, this scene is set in winter. Hogarth peoples his print with prostitutes and a darkened sky; Tom King’s Coffee House, a tavern with an infamous reputation, eclipses the church of St. Paul seen at right.

Physical Description
This print is vertically oriented with gray markings. A cream border surrounds it and it has “MORNING” written below it. The lower half of the print has a busy square. There is a pyramid of people to the right, with lovers, beggars, and a woman warming her hands over a fire. The left has a woman in a gown and a small boy behind her. Beyond them in the distance is a large mass of people carrying posters. The upper half shows the tops of the buildings that line the square. The rooftops has a dusting of snow, and the clouds are dark as if it were an early winter morning.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Additional Object Classification(s)
Print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
buildings
fireplaces
seated
snow
standing
streets
walking
window

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted