THE ELEPHANT FENCHURCH STREET
In the year 1826 was taken down the old Elephant Tavern, which was built before the Great Fire, and narrowly escaped its ravages. It stood on the north side of Fenchurch-street, and was originally the Elephant and Castle. Previous to the demolition of the premises there were removed from the wall two pictures, which Hogarth is said to have painted while a lodger there. About this time, a parochial entertainment which had hitherto been given at the Elephant, was removed to the King's Head (Henry VIII.) Tavern nearly opposite. At this Hogarth was annoyed, and he went over to the King's Head, when an altercation ensued, and he left, threatening to stick them all up on the Elephant taproom; this he is said to have done, and on the opposite wall subsequently painted the Hudson's Bay Company's Porters going to dinner, representing Fenchurch-street a century and a half ago. The first picture was set down as Hogarth's first idea of his Modern Midnight Conversation, in which he is supposed to have represented the parochial party at the King's Head, though it differs from Hogarth's print. There was a third picture, Harlequin and Pierrot, and on the wall of the Elephant first-floor was found a picture of Harlow Bush Fair, coated over with paint.
Only two of the pictures were claimed as Hogarth's. The Elephant has been engraved; and at the foot of the print, the information as to Hogarth having executed these paintings is rested upon the evidence of Mrs. Hibbert, who kept the house between thirty and forty years, and received her information from persons at that time well acquainted with Hogarth. Still, his biographers do not record his abode in Fenchurch-street. The Tavern has been rebuilt.
Club Life of London Vol. II