Born in 1697 in London, William Hogarth has been credited as one of the pioneer English painters and printmakers of his time. At an early age he was apprenticed to the engraver Ellis Gamble and by 1720 he was working as an engraver on his own account, engraving coats of arms, shop bills, and designing plates for booksellers.
Much of Hogarth's work poked fun at contemporary politics and customs. He drew from the highly moralizing tradition of Dutch genre painting. In 1731, he completed the earliest of the series of moralizing works that first gave him his position as a great artist. A Harlot's Progress, first as paintings and then published as engravings, depicted the miserable fate of a country girl who became a prostitute. The series was met with immediate success and was followed in 1735 by the sequel A Rake's Progress, which told the story of Tom Rakewell, son of a rich merchant, who wasted all his money on extravagant living, whoring, and gambling. Hogarth's satirical engravings are often considered an important ancestor of the comic strip. He was appointed Serjeant Painter to the King in 1757. Hogarth died in 1764.
In the Artist's Own Words
"All the world is competent to judge my pictures except those who are of my profession."