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The Sleeping Congregation

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)


In a country church decorated with bad church art (in the form of misshapen angels and clumsy window tracery), the reader of the service has droned on past the allotted time, as the sands in the hourglass have run out. His text from Matthew—“Come unto me ye who Labour and are Heavy Laden & I will give you Rest”—has been taken literally by the congregation, almost all of whom “rest.” The only exception is the clerk, who eyes the comely maiden dreaming of a husband. Her prayer book is open to “On Matrimony.”

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

Object Information

artist
William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)
creation date
1736
materials
etching and engraving
dimensions
10 x 7-3/4 in. (image)
17 x 11-1/2 in. (sheet)
accession number
30.1027
credit line
Gift of William George Sullivan
copyright
Public Domain
collection
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
colors