This exhibition explored sound in William Hogarth’s art.

Hogarth & the Art of Noise revealed Hogarth’s innovative use of sound, introducing visitors to a previously unexplored but important aspect of his art, and further cementing his reputation as the 18th century’s most original artist.

Famed for his social commentary, no painter before or since Hogarth has made such overt use of sound as a way of communicating a narrative. Taking as its focus the artist’s masterpiece, The March of the Guards to Finchley, the exhibition unpacked the painting’s rich social, cultural and political commentary, from the Jacobite uprising and the situation for chimney boys, to the origins of God Save the King.

Using sound, wall-based interpretation, engravings, and a specially-commissioned immersive soundscape by acclaimed musician and producer Martyn Ware, the exhibition revealed how Hogarth orchestrated the natural and man-made sounds of London, to depict the city in all its guises. You could discover how the Foundling Hospital’s great artist-governor captured the vibrancy and complexity of contemporary 18th-century life and learn more about the context in which the Hospital was established.

The soundscape is now available to listen to via Sound Cloud.

The exhibition was supported by The 1739 Club.

Martyn Ware formed The Human League in 1977. In 1980 he formed the production company/label British Electric Foundation and in the same year formed Heaven 17. Ware has written, performed and produced two Human League, five British Electric Foundation and nine Heaven 17 studio albums. In 2000 Ware founded Illustrious Co Ltd with Vince Clarke to explore the creative and commercial possibilities of their unique three-dimensional sound technology practice, in collaboration with fine artists, the performing arts and corporate clients around the world. He also lectures on music production, technology, and creativity.

Complementing the exhibition there was a display of new work by contemporary British artist, Nicola Bealing, A New Song (To An Old Tune).

Thank you for the 3D Soundscape, which was composed by Martyn Ware, recorded by Asa Bennett and Tom Gillieron, mixed and 3D spatialised by Martyn Ware and Asa Bennett, written by illustrious scriptwriter and Historical Adviser, Dr Jacqueline Riding. Voiceover credits go to Steven Edwards, Peter Wells-Thorpe, Katherine Newman, Martyn Ware, Asa Bennett, Harry Leckstein, Elle Halley, Kaja Wojciechowska, Emma Horan, Diane Gayle, Richard G Taylor, Adam Wedd, Aurelien Merz and Olga Mishow.

This invigorating exhibition shows how the artist’s appetite for life bursts off the canvas and makes you see, hear and smell his time…
The Guardian

Watch an interview with Martyn Ware