Thu 30 Aug
The Painter and his Pug is a self-portrait by William Hogarth from 1745 and features his beloved pet pug Trump alongside him. The pug breed of dog is said to be one of the oldest breeds in the world, with Chinese emperors choosing this particular breed as their dog of choice from as early as 750BC.
They say that dogs are a man's best friend and this is absolutely true when it comes to William Hogarth. Trump, or the pug breed of dog in general, was lucky enough to feature in quite a few of the infamous artists' paintings; featuring in The Strode Family, The Wollaston Family as well as numerous amounts of engravings.
Pugs were popular during the 18th century and many people would have aspired to own or have one painted with them to join in and become a part of the growing craze. Having owned a number of these dogs in his lifetime, Hogarth was naturally captivated by this and expressed it within a multitude of works.
In 2001, Jim Mathieson's sculpture of Hogarth was unveiled in his hometown in Chiswick. The sculpture presents Hogarth in a painters smock while holding a handful of paintbrushes and at his feet sits his trusted companion Trump. 250 years prior, sculptures of his beloved Trump were made by the hands of French sculptor, Louis-François Roubiliac, and one of these can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery. Porcelain versions were also created to sell off to fellow Hogarth admirers and a porcelain sculpture can be seen at the V&A Museum.
It has been said that Hogarth often likened or compared himself to Trump and considered himself to have a pugnacious temperament, choosing to represent this by including pugs in a number of his works. Hogarth's depiction of the pug as elevated to the same level as himself also symbolised the importance of the pug as a domestic animal.
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