Pugs and Art: the painter William Hogarth and his pug Trump

Pugs and Art: the painter William Hogarth and his pug Trump

Hogarth & Pug Trump

William Hogarth ( 1697 – 1764) was an English painter, pictorial satirist and social critic. He loves pugs and in particular his pug Trump.

Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in his style are referred to as “Hogarthian”.

In 1757 he was appointed Serjeant Painter to the King.

click to know more about William Hogarth

William Hogarth, the painter and his Pug Trump

Hogarth began this self-portrait in the mid-1730s.

The Painter and his Pug Trump
The Painter and his Pug Trump

The oval canvas containing Hogarth’s portrait appears propped up on volumes of Shakespeare, Swift and Milton. These authors inspired Hogarth’s commitment to drama, satire and epic poetry. On his palette is the ‘Line of Beauty and Grace’, which underpinned Hogarth’s theories on art. Hogarth’s pug Trump, serves as an emblem of the artist’s own pugnacious character. This portrait acted as a statement of the artist’s professional ambition.

The painting is remarkable because it shows how much this race has changed over the centuries. The pug Trump has longer legs than a modern Pug and does not have many wrinkles. Since the dog is shown seated, there is no indication of whether the tail is curled or not.

Nowadays the physical structure of pugs is very different. And Trumps are just a little bit more powerful.

You can see this amazing paint at the Tate Gallery in London (The Painter and his Pug).


The pug Trump appears also in other paintings of the artist: The Strode Family of 1738.


Pug Trump pees on a book

In this work, the role of the pug Trump is more significant: he pees on the volume of the art critic Charles Churchill, archenemy of the painter. Charles Churchill was the author of the satirical book “Epistle to William Hogarth” in which he critics the Hogarth painting “Self-Portrait with Pug” pointing out the similarity between the dog and his owner.

Now it’s incredible and funny to think about it, but it’s true. In 1700 the most famous Trump in the world was a Pug who pees on his enemy’s books.