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Ferdinand courting Miranda (from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act I scene ii)

William Hogarth (London 1697 - London 1764)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

circa 1736

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

800 x 1067 mm (31½ x 42 in)

Place of origin

Great Britain

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Collection

Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire, North, National Trust

NT 960074

Caption

This is the first known painting of a scene from Shakespeare. Miranda is seated on a throne of shell and coral as her father, Prospero stands behind her. Caliban, depicted as a half human, with a bat above his head, crushes a dove beneath his webbed foot, symbolising his threat to the lovers.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Ferdinand courting Miranda (from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act I scene ii) by William Hogarth (London 1697 - London 1764), circa 1736. Ferdinand, on the left is paying court to Miranda with her father, Prospero behind her, with half-human Caliban to the right while the spirit Ariel plays music above. It depicts Act 1, Scene ii of Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. This is an extremely important work by William Hogarth, the finest British artist of his generation. It is the first known painting of any scene from Shakespeare (the earliest illustrated edition of whose works had only been published in 1709). In keeping with Hogarth's ambitions to create an English school of ‘history-painting', the painting does not show the scene as it might have been acted on stage, but as an imagined reality, complete with the aerial intervention so characteristic of the Baroque style.

Provenance

In the collection of George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield (d. 1764); acquired by Sir Rowland, 5th Baronet from the sale of the Earl of Macclesfield's London house in 1766 at a cost of £23.2.0, from Dorothy Nesbitt, the Dowager Countess of Macclesfield, from whom he also bought his London house, 11 St James Square; purchased by the National Trust by private treaty for £294,029 (after tax remission) with a 100% grant from the NACF, now the Art Fund, 2002.

Credit line

Nostell Priory, The St Oswald Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

William Hogarth (London 1697 - London 1764), artist

Exhibition history

Hogarth, Musée du Louvre, Paris , 2006 - 2007, no.104 Hogarth, Tate Britain, London, 2006 - 2007, no.104 Hogarth, CaixaForum Museum, Madrid, 2006 - 2007, no.104

References

Brockwell 1915 Maurice Walter Brockwell, Catalogue of the Pictures and Other Works of Art in the Collection of Lord St Oswald at Nostell Priory, London 1915, cat. 378, plate XLIII:

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