Hogarth's letter. Picture courtesy Heritage Lottery Fund / Hounslow Council
Housnlow Council are celebrating after acquiring a rare manuscript letter written by the celebrated 18th century painter and satirist William Hogarth.
The letter, which has never before been on public display, will be the star attraction at Hogarth’s House in Chiswick, owned and run by the council.
Councillor Paul Lynch, Hounslow Council’s heritage champion and lead member for children’s services and education, spearheaded efforts to raise money to secure the letter. Money raised by a fundraising campaign, launched shortly before Christmas when the letter came up for sale, was matched by a grant of £17,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
“I am so grateful to everyone who gave so generously to help us achieve match-funding, and thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support," said Cllr Lynch. "It means an exciting part of Hogarth’s history will be put on display for future generations to appreciate and learn more about this great man.”
Written from Chiswick in 1754, the three-page manuscript is to John Joshua Kirby, drawing tutor to the royal children at Kew and father of Sarah Trimmer, the noted writer and critic of British children's literature in the eighteenth century.
Letters and manuscripts by William Hogarth are scarce and appear very rarely on the open market.
Hogarth's house in Chiswick, just next to the road junction named after him. © Hounslow Council
As well contributing £17, 500 towards the letter’s purchase, the HLF recently awarded a £276,000 grant towards the restoration of Hogarth’s House.
“Hogarth’s House is a hidden gem that deserves to be better known,” said Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London. “The Trust has already assisted with summer exhibitions and the centenary celebrations at Hogarth’s House and knows that it has enormous potential. These grants will help enhance what if offers and attract new visitors to enjoy it.”
Hogarth used the house in Hounslow as his weekend home from 1749 until his death in 1764.
Special new exhibitions are curently being planned, including ‘Hogarth and Beer’, linking his famous Beer Street print to the nearby Fullers Brewery, and ‘Hogarth and Children’ which acknowledges the artist’s involvement as one of the original governors of the Foundling Hospital in London, the UK’s first home for abandoned children.
An event to celebrate the award of funding to restore Hogarth’s House, and the purchase of the letter, is expected to take place during summer 2008.