Coram’s foundling hospital

How William Hogarth made Britain

Has any artist ever had a wider impact on the world than Hogarth? He was the motivator behind the most important legislation protecting artists’ copyright, meaning that artists from ordinary backgrounds no longer had to depend on the whims of rich patrons. Like Dickens, he used his art to laugh at and root out abuses — the proposals for electoral reform in the great ‘Humours of an Election’ series are as specific as satire ever gets (the haggling over the bribes, the man who somehow votes despite being dead). His early and energetic commitment to Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital did much to discourage the widespread practices of infant abandonment and