An election banquet

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An election banquet. Engraving by W Hogarth, 1755. The scene is partly derived from the notorious Oxfordshire election of 1754. (RJ Robson, The Oxfordshire Election of 1754, Oxford 1949) between the Tories or "Old interest" and the Whigs or "New Interest". The Whigs are inside a tavern. Above the two candidates, who sit on the left side, is a prominent banner bearing the slogan "Liberty and Loyalty". The young candidate endures being kissed by a fat old crone and his wig smoulders due to the contents of a pipe emptied on his head. The other candidate is accosted by a man with scratches on his face. The two factions exchange abuse: a brick hurled through the window hits a man on the head, knocking him backwards, while in return the chamber pot is emptied out of the window. A butcher nurses the head of an election ruffian who clutches a cudgel, by pouring the contents of a bottle of gin on the wound. At the head of the table the mayor, surrounded by empty oyster shells, is bled by a barber-surgeon (a tourniquet is tied round his arm). The scenes contains extensive detail and topical references. The overall composition probably derives from high art representations of the Last Supper. (E Wind, 'Borrowed attitudes in Reynolds and Hogarth', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 2, 1938–9, p 184). Created 24 February 1755. Contributors: William Hogarth (1697–1764). Work ID: h9nwz8ja.

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