Open main menu


HOGARTH, GEORGE (1783–1870), musical critic, was born in Edinburgh in 1783, and became a writer to the signet in his native city, where he associated with Sir Walter Scott, Lockhart, and other literary men (Wilson, Noctes Ambrosianæ, No. xxvi. June 1826). He studied music as an amateur, and became a violoncellist and a composer. As a musical critic he soon acquired repute, and was one of the brilliant writers who contributed to the ‘Edinburgh Courant.’ About 1831 he went to London, and was engaged on the ‘Morning Chronicle’ as a writer on political and musical subjects. A large share in the management of that paper ultimately devolved on him, and in the course of his editorial duties he gave encouragement to the first efforts of Charles Dickens by inserting in 1833 the ‘Sketches’ of London life in the ‘Evening Chronicle,’ an offshoot of the ‘Morning Chronicle.’ On the establishment of the ‘Daily News,’ 21 Jan. 1846, with Dickens as editor, Hogarth was appointed the musical critic, a post which he held until 1866. He was also for many years the musical critic to the ‘Illustrated London News,’ besides contributing to periodicals and editing various works, musical and literary. In 1850 he became the secretary of the Philharmonic Society, which post he resigned in 1864. The ‘Household Narrative,’ which was published in connection with ‘Household Words,’ was compiled by Hogarth from 1850 to 1855, when by the interference of the stamp commissioners it was brought to a conclusion. He was an upright, honest man of liberal and kind sympathies, of considerable learning, and a just, outspoken, and generous critic. In January 1870 he fell downstairs at the ‘Illustrated London News’ office, breaking an arm and a leg; from the effect of these injuries he never recovered, dying at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Roney, 10 Gloucester Crescent, Regent's Park, London, on 12 Feb. 1870, aged 86. He married a daughter of George Thomson of Edinburgh, the biographer of Beethoven. His issue were fourteen children, the best known of whom were William Thomas; James Ballantyne, who died in 1876; Edward, who is dead; Catherine Thomson, who in 1836 married Charles Dickens, and died 22 Nov. 1879; Mary, who died in Charles Dickens's house in 1837, aged 17; Georgina, who edited ‘The Letters of C. Dickens,’ 1870, and is mentioned in Dickens's will as ‘the best and truest friend man ever had;’ Helen Isabella, wife of R. C. Roney, who died at Liverpool 1 Dec. 1890, aged 57.

Hogarth's published works were:

  1. ‘The White Rose of York. A Midsummer Annual,’ edited by G. Hogarth, 1834.
  2. ‘Musical History, Biography, and Criticism, being a General Survey of Music from the earliest period to the present time,’ 1835; a standard work of reference on its special subject.
  3. ‘Memoirs of the Musical Drama,’ 1838, 2 vols.
  4. ‘Songs of C. Dibdin Chronologically Arranged. To which is prefixed a Memoir of the Author by G. Hogarth,’ 1842.
  5. ‘Memoirs of the Opera in Italy, France, Germany, and England,’ 1851, 2 vols.; second edition of No. 3.
  6. A series of papers on the Birmingham musical festival, published in ‘Aris's Birmingham Gazette,’ reprinted in ‘Birmingham Musical Festival,’ 1855.
  7. ‘The Philharmonic Society of London, from its Foundation, 1813, to its Fiftieth Year,’ 1862. His chief musical works were:
  8. ‘A Collection of Psalms and Hymns. By J. Mainzer and G. Hogarth,’ 1843.
  9. ‘How's Illustrated Book of British Songs. Edited by G. Hogarth,’ 1845.
  10. ‘The Musical Herald, a Journal of Music. Edited by G. Hogarth,’ 1846, 2 vols.
  11. ‘The People's Service. Harmonies revised by G. Hogarth,’ 1850.
  12. ‘The People's Service of Song. The Harmonies revised by G. Hogarth, edited by J. Curwen,’ 1852.
  13. ‘The Sol-Fa edition of the People's Service of Song,’ 1852.
  14. ‘School Music arranged for three voices by G. Hogarth. Edited by J. Curwen,’ 1852.

He also wrote ballads, songs, and duets.

[Newspaper Press, 1 March 1870, p. 81; Grove's Dictionary of Music, 1879, i. 742; Law Times, 19 Feb. 1870, p. 325; Illustrated London News, 19 Feb. 1870, p. 211; Forster's Charles Dickens, 1872, i. 84, 87, &c.; Lockhart's Life of Scott, 1865, pp. 373, 595.]

G. C. B.