Hogarth & Europe

The Marital Gaze

“Les chemins se croisent mais les yeux jamais.”

Our paths may cross but the eyes never.

We think we’re busy and rush around the city without ever really taking anything in.

School took us to see Hogarth’s works at Sir John Soane’s museum in Lincoln Inn Fields, London’s biggest square, in the legal district when I was 12 or 13.

Then years later an actor friend told me about Brecht’s Threepenny Opera based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera.

Over the course of years it dawned on me that these pictures were about the debauchery of London’s street life.

And very little has changed.

But it was only when I asked for a copy of the Beggar’s Opera at my favourite bookshop in London that I was pointed to It Takes a Thief and informed that Gay based his opera on London’s former Chief Thief Taker Jonathan Wild.

I’m a slow learner but bit by bit the dots began to join.

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