William Hogarth was born on the 10th of November 1697 in London. In 1713 he was apprenticed to a plate engraver and 7 years later he had his own engraving business. The prints he made of theatre shows at this time helped to establish his artistic reputation.
As Hogarth's work became popular people began making copies and selling them. Because of this the Copyright Act of 1735 was introduced, making the copying of someone else's work without permission illegal.
Between 1740 and 1745 Hogarth turned his attention to portraits. He was commissioned by many of the rich and powerful and in 1757 he was appointed "Sergeant Painter to the Court", a potentially lucrative position about which he said "[I have]...landed as it were and secured from tugging any longer at the ore".
Hogarth died on the 26th of October 1764 at the age of 66. His works ranged from realistic paintings to comic cartoons and he is remembered as much for his political satires as for his great paintings.