‘Quis ineptae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus ut teneat se’: London, an eighteenth-century city in turmoil?1 Samuel Johnson’s London and William Hogarth’s Gin Lane
In many respects eighteenth-century London was a golden period of prosperity for the city. It was a period of economic affluence, with newly established international trade links, increased industrialisation, and extensive development and generation as its boundaries sprawled out ever wider. Yet, this prosperity came at a cost and was underpinned by an ugly underbelly. This paper, fundamentally, is concerned with this ugliness and the way it is represented in Samuel Johnson’s London and William Hogarth’s Gin Lane. In addition to the representations of the physical world themselves, of particular interest to this paper is the psychological turmoil and anxiety that often manifested itself behind the depictions of instances of physical strife and hardship.