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William Hogarth, b.1697

The Five Orders of Perriwigs

Categorizing perriwigs in orders similar to the five orders of classical columns, Hogarth satirizes the aristocracy who wore them. At the time, during the 18th century, it was popularly believed that laws of composition and models of beauty could be constructed by measuring classical statues and architecture. A scale on the left hand side shows the ‘Athenian Measure’ used to measure the wigs; component parts of each wig are labeled with letters A to I, each denoting a mock architectural term.

Dimensions36.3 x 24 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Madden / Arnholz Collection, 1989
Item NumberIMMA.2086
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
William Hogarth, The Five Orders of Perriwigs, Engraving, 36.3 x 24 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, Madden / Arnholz Collection, 1989

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

William Hogarth 1697–1764

English artist William Hogarth, the son of a shopkeeper mother, and schoolmaster and publisher father, was born in London. After a brief apprenticeship as a silversmith, Hogarth studied for a time at Sir James Thornhill’s then recently opened art school. His first employment was in designing plates for booksellers until he began producing work on his own account. His first big financial success was with A Harlot’s Progress, a series of paintings from which he produced engravings in 1732. This was the first of the wholly innovatory genre that Hogarth called his ‘modern moral subjects’ and which first gave him his position as a great and original artist. In 1735 he helped found St. Martin’s Lane Academy - considered an important forerunner to the Royal Academy - which opened in 1768. In 1753, Hogarth published Analysis of Beauty, an investigation into the aesthetic principles of art.
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