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Day 1 of ‘Looking for the Longitude’: ‘Among the generic tropes of madmen’

  • 15 June 2016

Location 1: Bethlehem Hospital

Hogarth’s final plate of A Rake's Progress presents the world in madness, embodied in the incurables ward of Bethlehem Hospital, Bedlam. Among the generic tropes of madmen—religious and political fanatics, a tailor, a musician, an unrequited lover—is a very specific scientific reference, to the problem of establishing longitude at sea. This shadowy figure is barely considered by Hogarth scholars, but was very legible to Hogarth’s contemporaries.

Read day 1 by expert Katy Barrett (Royal Museums Greenwich) on Hogarths ‘modern moral’ prints series and the cultural geography of the city