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Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)

The mundane domesticity and shabby surroundings of this troupe of traveling actors contrasts with the Olympian gods they are about to play in “The Devil to Pay in Heaven,” as advertised on the play bill on the trundle bed. This was to be their last performance before the enactment of the Licensing Act of June 24, 1737, which forbade performances outside of London and doomed strolling troupes of actors touring the provinces, as portrayed here.

William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1930.

Object Information

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)
creation date
ink on paper, etching and engraving
16-3/4 x 21-1/4 in. (image)
17-1/4 x 23-3/8 in. (sheet)
mark descriptions
Inscribed: Invented, Painted, Engraved and Published by William Hogarth, March the 25th, 1738. According to Act of Parliament
accession number
credit line
Gift of William George Sullivan
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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