Art Hx: Visual and Medical Legacies of British Colonialism

A dense urban space. A crowd of white figures who smile and laugh sit on a platform at the left, with tankards of beer. Below them, a fishmonger sells herrings from a basket on her head while drinking beer and reading a proclamation. There is a large basket of books on politics, history, and economics in the right foreground. Behind it, a man drinks from an enormous tankard of beer. Another man with an armload of tankards reaches up to a window and receives a full tankard of beer through it. The sign above the window reads N PINCH PAWN BROKER. This building is crumbling and in poor repair. Behind these figures, an artist puts the finishing touches on a sign proclaiming Health to the Barley Mow. And in the background, numerous figures work on constructing a new building, all with tankards of beer. Below the print is a poem which reads: Beer, happy Produce of our Isle Can sinewy Strength impart, And wearied with Fatigue and Toil Can hear each manly Heart. Labour and Art upheld by Thee Successfully advance, We quaff Thy balmy Juice with Glee And Water leave to France. Genuis of Health, thy grateful Taste Rivals the Cup of Jove, And warms each English generous Breast With Liberty and Love.

Title: Beer Street

Artist/Maker: William Hogarth

Date: 1751

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Copyright/Permissions: Open Access, Gift of Sarah Lazarus, 1891, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Location(s): London, England

Art Hx