The Works of William Hogarth, by John Trusler

Masquerades and Operas.

Burlington Gate.

This print appeared in 1723. Of the three small figures in the centre the middle one is Lord Burlington, a man of considerable taste in painting and architecture, but who ranked Mr. Kent, an indifferent artist, above his merit. On one side of the peer is Mr. Campbell, the architect; on the other, his lordship’s postilion. On a show-cloth in this plate is also supposed to be the portrait of king George II. who gave 1000l. towards the Masquerade; together with that of the earl of Peterborough, who offers Cuzzoni, the Italian singer, 8000l. and she spurns at him. Mr. Heidegger, the regulator of the Masquerade, is also exhibited, looking out of a window, with the letter H under him.

The substance of the foregoing remarks is taken from a collection lately belonging to Captain Baillie, where it is said that they were furnished by an eminent connoisseur.

A board is likewise displayed, with the words, “Long Room. Fawks’s dexterity of hand.” It appears from the following advertisement that this was a man of great consequence in his profession: “Whereas the town hath been lately alarmed, that the famous Fawks was robbed and murdered, returning from performing at the duchess of Buckingham’s house at Chelsea; which report being raised and printed by a person to gain money to himself, and prejudice the above-mentioned Mr. Fawks, whose unparalleled performance has gained him so much applause from the greatest of quality, and most curious observers: We think, both in justice to the injured gentleman, and for the satisfaction of his admirers, that we cannot please our readers better than to acquaint them he is alive, and will not only perform his usual surprising dexterity of hand, posture-master, and musical clock: but, for the greater diversion of the quality and gentry, has agreed with the famous Powell of the Bath for the season, who has the largest, richest, and most natural figures, and finest machines in England, and whose former performances in Covent Garden were so engaging to the town, as to gain the approbation of the best judges, to show his puppet-plays along with him, beginning in the Christmas holidays next, at the Old Tennis-court, in James’s -street, near the Haymarket; where any incredulous persons may be satisfied he is not left this world, if they please to believe their hands, though they can’t believe their eyes."—“May 25,” indeed, “1731, died Mr. Fawks, famous for his dexterity of hand, by which he had honestly acquired a fortune of 10,000l. being no more than he really deserved for his great ingenuity, by which he had surpassed all that ever pretended to that art.”

This satirical performance of Hogarth, however, was thought to be invented and drawn at the instigation of Sir James Thornhill, out of revenge, because Lord Burlington had preferred Mr. Kent before him to paint for the king at his palace at Kensington. Dr. Faustus was a pantomime performed to crowded houses throughout two seasons, to the utter neglect of plays, for which reason they are cried about in a wheel-barrow.


Masquerades and Operas, Burlington Gate.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hogarth/william/trusler/chapter29.html

Last updated Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 11:28