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The story behind the painting

2 January 2019

The Bishop and the Harlot: the Gibson-Hogarth connection

A portrait of Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson (1669-1748) hangs to the left of the main door of Hall. R H Hodgkin (Provost 1937-1946) in his 1954 history of Queen’s considered most College portraits to be of historical rather than artistic interest: the artist, John Vanderbank (1694-1739) gets a mention but not the sitter.  But Gibson himself is certainly worthy of recall as one of the foremost churchmen of his age, both as ecclesiastical statesman and bishop. He also enjoys a small presence in art history with references to him in William Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress (1731), the first “modern moral subject”, which established Hogarth’s reputation and fortune.

Read the full article by Old Member Barry Hoffbrand (Physiological Sciences, 1952). 

Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson (1669-1748)