The Nude behind the Curtain: Hogarth and the Uses – and Abuses – of Art
By Dr Richard Stemp
Thursday 13th May 2021

In the background of one of the paintings from William Hogarth’s series Marriage A-la-Mode, the walls of a grand chamber are lined with paintings. A number of full-length saints, halos just visible, stand next to a painting covered by a curtain, from behind which a foot protrudes. This is clearly a nude and the painting is exhibited as they often were, unlike the subject of the work, appropriately clad. However, this would rarely have been in such a splendid setting, which is presumably a place to entertain one’s guests. So what does its presence tell us about the owners of this room?

Hogarth was a comic genius, fully aware of the power of art to inspire, to instruct, to chastise and to amuse. Starting with this abrupt contrast between a scantily clad foot and some upright saints, we will use the paintings depicted in this series, the greatest of Hogarth’s ‘modern moral subjects,’ to lead us through the scandal and intrigue of his melodrama, revelling in the many intricate details, jokes and barbs, until we reach the bitter denouement.

Please note this lecture in on a Thursday, not our normal Wednesday!


We will be using Zoom which many of you may already be very familiar with.  You will be sent an invitation link with your ticket by email as soon as you register and you need only click on this link to join. If you do not already have Zoom you will be promoted to download or launch Zoom. Once you have clicked on this you will join the lecture.

Here is the link if would like to download Zoom in advance Download Zoom
Here is a link to a very short video on how to join How to Join Zoom

Please join 15 minutes earlier at 5.45pm to make sure we are all technically ready. I will be at the end of the phone leading up to and during the lecture for anyone who is having problems.

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One Lecture £15.60

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A Catch-Up Recording is available, so please book online as usual and then email to request a recording