He was a close friend of Swift, Pope and Gay, fellow-members of the ‘Scriblerus Club’ (which met in his house), and is thought to have directly inspired some of Swift and Pope’s work. He met Newton and Pepys in Oxford, where a private pupil of his was studying; later he found himself caught in a row between Newton and Flamsteed over Flamsteed’s star catalogue. Sloane was a correspondent, and Handel a friend — Arbuthnot officially managed his opera productions within the U.K. Swift and he were fond of perpetrating practical jokes, as well as making mischief with political pamphlets they published.
Hogarth’s masterfully constructed, bitingly satirical prints and paintings remain influential to this day, inspiring novels, plays and operas as well as visual works. He met Johnson at Richardson’s, astonished that the apparent shambling idiot could be so eloquent. He knew Garrick well, occasionally visited Goldsmith, and was described by Swift as a pleasant rogue. Among other friends, he caricatured Pope, was a governor (with Handel) of Coram’s charity, and was written about by Fielding (who may have encouraged his Gin Lane prints). He was captivated by a dissection of Hunter’s, but despite a myth, may never have met Sterne.