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The Sleeping Congregation

A work made of etching and engraving in black on ivory wove paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching and engraving in black on ivory wove paper.


October 1736


William Hogarth
English, 1697-1764

About this artwork

William Hogarth’s scathing indictments of the extremes of the churchgoing community take no prisoners, whether lambasting credulous Catholics or disinterested Methodists. Only the preacher and his attendant clerk here have managed to stay awake this long into the sermon. Most of the audience is snoring, tumbling onto each other in deep slumber. The young lady to the right, with her unguarded décolletage, holds a pamphlet about marriage, which may inspire her dreams. In contrast, the sidelong glance she receives from the clerk suggests his intentions are anything but honorable.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


William Hogarth


The Sleeping Congregation


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Etching and engraving in black on ivory wove paper


Image: 25 × 19.5 cm (9 7/8 × 7 11/16 in.); Plate: 26.4 × 20.4 cm (10 7/16 × 8 1/16 in.); Sheet: 30 × 25 cm (11 13/16 × 9 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

The Wallace L. DeWolf and Joseph Brooks Fair Collections

Reference Number


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