Hogarth's house in Chiswick, just next to the road junction named after him. © Hounslow Council
While the Hogarth Roundabout is a familiar refrain on the radio traffic news, the nearby family home of the 18th century painter and satirist is little known.
Now, that could change, as the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £276,000 for the restoration of the house in Chiswick.
The Grade I listed building was once used by William Hogarth as a weekend country home. That was between 1749 and 1764, when it was set among fields on the outskirts of what was then the village of Chiswick. Now the house and its compact walled garden are found adjacent to the busy Great West Road running into central London, and has suffered over the years.
The three year project will repair water damage and restore historic architectural features on the house, built in about 1700, before opening it up to visitors. Owned and cared for by Hounslow Council, it will host special events and exhibitions on the life and art of Hogarth, who was instrumental in the opening of the very first public exhibition space in Britain at the Foundling Hospital.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be given an opportunity to restore Hogarth’s house to its former glory, and open it up in a way that has never been seen before,” said Cllr Adrian Lee, Hounslow Council’s lead member for leisure and culture. “It will mean people will be able to truly appreciate the work, life and legacy of this great man for many years to come. We thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their award.”
Hogarth’s work will go on display in the house, and an extensive education programme will be established as part of the project. The second floor of the house will be opened up for the first time.
The displays will tell the story of Hogarth’s influential satirical artworks, and will also focus on his involvement with the Foundling Hospital in London, the UK’s first home for abandoned children. Hogarth donated some of his works to the hospital and encouraged other contemporary artists to follow suit. He also encouraged wealthy benefactors to support the institution, and created the country’s first exhibition space.
“Hogarth’s House is a hidden gem that deserves to be better known,” said HLF Regional Manager for London, Sue Bowers. “This project will do exactly that, bringing about a step change in how the house is presented and enjoyed by a wide range of visitors.”
Hogarth was a painter and engraver best known for his painting serials criticising 18th century morality, such as A Rake’s Progress and Marriage-à-la-Mode.
The Hogarth Museum will close later in 2008 for work to begin.