A twenty-first century Gin Lane

A twenty-first century Gin Lane

Thomas Moore’s reimagining of William Hogarth’s infamous cartoon Gin Lane has gone on public display for the first time at the Museum.

Originally commissioned by Royal Society for Public Health to mark its 160th anniversary in 2016, the new artwork Gin Lane 2016 reflects some of the biggest challenges facing public health in Britain today, centring around the problems of obesity. The overall scene is the same street as presented in the original Gin Lane, but has been developed and modernised so that it is representative of a typical street scene in London, or indeed anywhere in the UK today. The new artwork is on display alongside a print of Hogarth’s original cartoon until the end of January.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Society for Public Health, said: “Following such strong interest in Gin Lane 2016 from public and media alike, we are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Foundling Museum to put the piece on display. With Hogarth himself having been a founding Governor of the Foundling Hospital, the Foundling Museum seemed like a perfect fit to house the reimagined artwork. We hope as many people as possible will have the chance to view Thomas’ fantastic work. There is so much to learn about the original piece and its context, as well as the pressing public health issues that shaped the re-imagined image. With public health in a time of great uncertainty, we hope that this artwork can raise awareness and connect with the public in a different way – highlighting important health issues facing society today and making people smile at the same time.”

Stephanie Chapman, Curator of Exhibitions and Displays at the Foundling Museum, said: “William Hogarth’s Gin Lane exposed some of the extreme problems caused by the Gin Craze in eighteenth-century London, particularly its effects on some of the poorest in society. Hogarth’s ground-breaking art, his keen powers of observation, his wit and his desire to confront head on some of the key social issues of the day, have made him a great inspiration for proceeding generations of artists. The Foundling Museum is delighted to be showing Thomas Moore’s recent reimagining of Gin Lane as he, in turn, confronts the public health issues faced by London today.”

At a time when we often make optimistic resolutions to be healthier, perhaps this work, shown alongside a reproduction of the original Gin Lane, will inspire visitors to the Foundling Museum to keep them!