Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.

Date:

May 1738

Artist:

William Hogarth
English, 1697-1764

About this artwork

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn was William Hogarth’s ardent protest against Robert Walpole’s Licensing Act of 1737. The act gave the British government the power to heavily censor theatrical productions. Sentimentalist domestic plays and Shakespeare were the only productions allowed on stage. Hogarth’s engraving shows actresses dressed as Classical deities preparing for a performance in a shabby and chaotic backstage setting. The artist critiqued the British government’s pompous attempt to whitewash the theater by juxtaposing the idealized characters the actresses will portray with the actresses’ reality.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

William Hogarth

Title

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn

Origin

England

Date

1738

Medium

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

423 × 538 mm (image); 450 × 561 mm (plate); 493 × 628 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

Gift of Horace S. Oakley

Reference Number

1921.346

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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