Hogarth's 305th birthday party

Chiswick Town Hall was packed for the 2nd fund-raising birthday party held there in 8 November

The William Hogarth Trust's event drew together three groups of performers, all of whom donated their services free of charge and provided a strong 18th century theme, There was plenty of food and drink, a raffle with prizes from local shops, and a little treasure hunt based on Rocque's 1740s map of the area. Sir Peter Blake had agreed to the production of a limited edition print of the find drawing of Hogarth's pug which he donated for the auction at the first birthday party in 2000, and was present to help sell some of these on the night. (There are some prints left at £75 each - contact the Trust on 8995 9013 if you would like to reserve one).

On arrival the audience found the hall occupied by the Covent Garden Minuet Company (which little includes at least one Chiswick resident) in full court costume doing a little light minuetting. (Pictured left). This group of about 20 stayed and helped sell the raffle tickets before their tremendous performance of 18th century dances which rounded off the evening's entertainment.

The programme proper began with the splendid MC, Ray Batchelor, appearing on stage amongst the musicians, carrying Hogarth's birthday cake while the Ealing Youth Orchestra (EYO) and the St Peter's Singers led the audience in a very dignified rendition of "Happy Birthday".

Conducted by Mark Forkgen , the young players of the EYO (right)then gave a fine performance of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, with Esther Sheridan as the soloist. They were followed by the St Peter's Singers, conducted by Ben Revill (now a grown up tenor, but once the boy soprano who sang over the Blackadder I credits), singing a range of 18th century pieces (including some remarkable naughty ones).

The second half began with "Hogarth's Soap Operas", an explanation of Hogarth's series of pictures, the Harlot's Progress and the Rake's Progress, by James Wisdom, the Chairman of the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society, who promised to lower the tone of the evening" - and did so very amusingly.

Hogarth statue sculptor - Jim Matheson

Following the raffle drawn by local celebrities including Susan Penhaligon, Peter Howell and Rosalind Knight, the finale with the Minuet Dancers was introduce by Ray Batchelor with a reading of Hogarth's views of the elegance of the minuet. It included a demonstration of the Language of the Fan, which enabled ladies to send discreet messages to potential suitors at social events!

The event owed a good deal to a large number of voluntary helpers who laid out the hall, prepared the supper, found sponsors and donors of raffle prizes and cleared up at the end of an exhausting day.

The William Hogarth Trust was hoping to raise sufficient funding to pay off the final debts on the Hogarth statue and cover the costs of its launch as a registered charity, but at the time of writing was still calculating the finances of the event!

November 14, 2002

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