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The Sleeping Congregation gets ready for display

22 July 2021

The Sleeping Congregation is a print by William Hogarth (1697–1764) dated 1762, based on his own painting from 1728. Hogarth, an English pioneer in engravings and paintings, is well-known for his satirical and moral subjects.

To prepare the print for the exhibition Humour Me, Queen’s University Masters of Arts Conservation student Sandrine Blais (MAC’22) treated the engraving. Since both the upper corners of the print were missing, Blais digitally created and printed new corners to replace them.

A high-resolution photograph was taken of the engraving and imported into Adobe Photoshop. The pattern around the missing corners was then copied to fill in the gaps. The corners were printed on various Western and Japanese papers to find the best colour match. The chosen corners were then adhered to the print and blended into the image area with watercolour pigments under a microscope.

Queen’s University Masters of Arts Conservation student Sandrine Blais (MAC’22) treating William Hogarth’s engraving The Sleeping Congregation

After conservation: William Hogarth, The Sleeping Congregation State IV, 1762, engraving on paper. Gift from the estate of Mabel E. Segsworth, through the Queen’s University Art Foundation, 1944

The print depicts a preacher whose sermon has gone on for so long that the sand in the hourglass to his side is confined to the lower bulb, and his entire audience is fast asleep. The preacher’s sermon reads: “Come unto me all ye that Labour and are Heavy Laden, and I will give you Rest” (Matthew 11:28). The only other person who is awake is his clerk, eyeing a young woman’s bust. She holds a publication on the topic of marriage.

See The Sleeping Congregation on view in Humour Me, from 7 August 2021 to 30 January 2022.

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