Beer Street (1750) by William Hogarth

Beer Street - William Hogarth - 1751

Artwork Information

TitleBeer Street
ArtistWilliam Hogarth
Dimensions14 1/16 x 11 3/4 in
Art MovementRococo
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Beer Street

The artwork titled “Beer Street,” created by the esteemed artist William Hogarth in the year 1751, is an engraving on paper reflective of the Rococo art movement. Measuring 14 1/16 by 11 3/4 inches, this genre painting is part of the collection at the British Museum in London, United Kingdom.

“Beer Street” depicts a lively street scene celebrating the virtues of beer drinking in contrast to the evils of consuming gin, as portrayed in its companion piece, “Gin Lane.” The characters illustrated within the artwork are seen in good spirits and health, engaged in productive and joyful activities, which is emblematic of the positive effects Hogarth associated with beer consumption. The setting features robust and merry individuals, hinting at a prosperous and industrious society. The composition abounds in detail, with clear indications of trade and commerce, such as the blacksmith at work and the fish-woman in the street. Above the happy crowd, a banner with the word “Beer” and a barrel hangs proudly, further emphasizing the central theme of the artwork.

This scene is bustling with activity and cheerfulness, all under the benevolent influence of beer which, according to Hogarth, fosters a stable and thriving community. The overall jovial mood in “Beer Street” serves as a counterpoint to the dire and cautionary message presented in “Gin Lane,” completing Hogarth’s moral and social commentary on the drinking habits of 18th-century England.

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