British Museum guidebook, £3.50
Length: 4.300 cm
Gift of D. Fairfax Murray
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
William Hogarth's gold admission ticket to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Probably from London, England, around AD 1740
William Hogarth (1697-1764) , the celebrated painter, was instrumental in promoting the rococo style in Britain. His treatise Analysis of Beauty of 1753, championed the serpentine 'line of beauty and grace' as it appeared not only in printed material, but in such manufactured items as silver, porcelain and furniture, and as expressed in architecture and landscape designs.
Vauxhall Gardens in Lambeth, London was a pleasure ground open for public amusement, and filled with statues, landscaped walks, theatrical arches, a Rotunda, temporary decorations and supper-boxes. It provided daily and nightly musical entertainment, and visitors included Frederick, Prince of Wales and his entourage. The Gardens also became a focal point for the group of artists, craftsmen, writers, and actors, among them Hogarth, who were reacting against traditional classical influences, and who worked in the free, expressive style of the rococo. Jonathan Tyers (1702-67), the proprietor of Vauxhall Gardens, commissioned paintings to decorate the supper-boxes, and it is likely that Hogarth was involved in some way, as two of his paintings were copied for the decoration.
This ticket for life admission to Vauxhall Gardens was possibly designed by Richard Yeo, an engraver who taught at St Martin's Lane Academy, of which Hogarth was one of the founders in 1735.
The obverse is embossed
with the figures of Virtue
(Virtus) and Pleasure
(Voluptas) above the
Una' ('One of the
The reverse is engraved Hogarth in perpetuam Beneficii memoriam ('Hogarth, in perpetual memory of his favour everlasting').
M. Snodin (ed.), Rococo: art and design in Ho-1, exh. cat. (London, 1984)