Ferdinand Paying Court to Miranda, with Prospero Behind Her, Caliban to the Right, and Ariel Above by William Hogarth

The work depicts Act I, Scene ii from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', and is the first known painting of any scene from Shakespeare.


Oil on canvas
102 x 125 cm
Art Fund grant:
£294,029 ( Total: £294,029; Tax remission)
Acquired in:

One of Hogarth's many pioneering roles was as a painter of the theatre. It is presented as a history painting, with the Baroque effect of Ariel playing a mandolin in the clouds and a Caliban misshapen beyond the powers of make-up. It cannot, on the grounds of style, have been too remote in time from the huge Pool of Bethesda, which Hogarth painted for the staircase of St Bartholomew's Hospital (in 1735-6) free of charge in the hope that it would encourage the commissioning of history paintings from native artists, instead of such foreign rivals as Jacopo Amigoni.


Dorothy Nesbitt, Dowager Countess of Macclesfield; Sir Roland Winn, 5th Bart. and kept at Nostell Priory as part of his collection.

Venue details

Nostell Doncaster Road, Nostell, Wakefield West Yorkshire WF4 1QE 01924 863892 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nostell

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £10.50)

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