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A Rake Revisited: Henry Hudson at the Soane

2 December 2011 - 28 January 2012

A selection of Henry Hudson’s large-scale 'paintings' in plasticine of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress will be exhibited at Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Soane purchased Hogarth’s remarkable series of satirical paintings, A Rake’s Progress, in 1802 and hung them in his extraordinary Picture Room. The eight canvases, depict the hapless story of Tom Rakewell, starting with The Heir where he comes into his inheritance and ending with The Madhouse where the Rake ends his days.

Henry Hudson (b. 1982) became fascinated by Hogarth as a student at Central St Martins, admiring the satirical cruelty of his work as well as its humour. As part of his exploration Hogarthian themes in Britain’s modern psyche, Hudson began working on his own version of A Rake’s Progress nearly two years ago in his London studio, next to where Hogarth was born.

Hudson paints using his trademark plasticine, melting it and working it in his hand to mix the colours and apply with fingers or palette knives as a thick impasto on the board. Three of Hudson’s eight, mural-sized canvases will be on display at the Soane: The Levee, The Orgy and The Madhouse.

Henry Hudson explains: “Hogarth’s work defined the decadence and moral decay of his age, revelling in the grotesque and the absurd, but his narratives remain compelling today. Hogarth lived in an era of moral abandon which coincided with the commercialism of art. He was the first to amalgamate the tabloid form with the traditions of the old masters, creating a new visual language and subverting the artistic canon to his own ends. My work seeks to continue this rebellious gesture but with an underlying anxiety.”


Henry Hudson in his studio, 2011

Sir John Soane's Museum
13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
London WC2A 3BP