William Hogarth (1697-1764) was an English painter, engraver, printmaker and cartoonist. He is famed for his moralizing and satirical pictures of 'modern moral subjects' and credited as being the Western pioneer of the comic-strip. Many of his works were of political, social or moral commentary and were published in newspapers and magazines. Hogarth was also in demand as a portrait painter throughout his career.
St Giles is an area of London, at the southern end of the Borough of Camden. In the nineteenth century it was London’s worst and most notorious slum, known as The Rookery of St Giles. Hogarth featured it in three of his etchings: Gin Lane (1751), Noon From Four Times of Day and The First Stage of Cruelty (1751). Earlier in the novel, Catherine has referred to the Hogarth etching of Gin Lane which hangs in her uncle’s house.