WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Galley Foist

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Galley Foist

Last week, the Idle ‘Prentice received his final reward; this week, the Industrious ‘Prentice receives his. It will come as no great surprise that the latter’s is far better than the former’s. A bit heavy-handed with the lesson, perhaps, but also a stark reminder that though a phrase may be a cliché, that doesn’t make it untrue: idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

Personally, although Hogarth has been mainly using Proverbs as his Bible book of choice in his Industry and Idle series, I think he missed out on a terrific verse for this plate in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which reads, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Maybe had Tom Idle gone without food more, he’d have found some productive work to busy himself. Alas, this week is about Francis Goodchild and his success… and he has reached quite the pinnacle.

Hogarth sketched out at least three other scenes that were never made into engravings nor published: one of the inside of Francis Goodchild’s home after marriage (to be placed around Plate 6), and two of Goodchild gifting money to his parents while Tom Idle steals from his own mother (these to be placed around Plate 7).

Galley Foist

A city barge, used formerly on the lord mayor’s day, when he was sworn in at Westminster.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 12: The Industrious ‘Prentice Lord-Mayor of London, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

[Also discussing Plate 11, The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum, which was discussed HERE last week]

These complex, incident-filled scenes show Goodchild and Idle as the focus of crowded public events: one is the Lord Mayor’s procession through Cheapside in the City of London, the other, the cart ride to the gallows at Tyburn. Thus both men have achieved a kind of ‘celebrity’. However, while Goodchild’s continuing fame and good fortune are underlined by the cornucopias displayed in the border of the print, for Idle (as presented by the skeletons) there is only imminent death.

From the Wikipedia description:

Now that the Idle ‘Prentice met his reward, industry gets its turn: The industry and morality of Francis Goodchild result in his being chosen the Lord Mayor of the City.

He is here shown riding in the Lord Mayor’s carriage, holding the sword of state and wearing an outsized top hat. From the balcony on the right, a genteel crowd observes his passing, as do people in all the windows fronting on the street.

Meanwhile, the crowd drunkenly near-riots around him. In the far lower right, a boy holding “A full and true Account of ye Ghost of Tho Idle. Which […]” shows the final fate of Thomas Idle’s memory: an entry in The Newgate Calendar. Nearby members of an escort of disorganised militia accidentally discharge their muskets or drink from mugs.

The frame is now surrounded by cornucopias, referring to the verse at the bottom:

Proverbs CHAP: III Ver: 16
Length of days is in her right hand, and
in her left hand Riches and Honour


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

We’ve come to the penultimate piece in Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series, and it’s a tragic, though not wholly unexpected one. Tom Idle meets his fate: we see that he’s headed to Tyburn.

Collar Day

Execution day.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 11: The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Earlier in the series Idle had chosen gambling and cheating in the churchyard rather than attend the church service. Now he desperately reads a Book of Common Prayer [sic], while a Methodist clergyman evangelises over sin and damnation beside him. The Tyburn gallows, seen in the centre background, was a distinctive tripod-shaped wooden construction on which numerous criminals could be hung at once. After execution there was sometimes a scramble for the corpse between the assistance of surgeons, who required it for research and the teaching of anatomy, and friends and family of the hanged. The coffin accompanying Idle suggests that he is intended to be buried post-execution. However, the skeletons displayed either side of the print suggests that his body will end-up anatomised.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle now comes, like Tom Nero in The Four Stages of Cruelty, to the reward of his depredations and malice: a felon’s death on the gallows.

The procession from left to right shows a detachment of soldiers riding behind the tumbrel, which contains a preacher with a book labelled Wesley, a reference to Methodism. The cleric vigorously discourses to a now hairless Thomas Idle, who is leaning on his own coffin (marked by the initials “T.I.”). The coach ahead carries the Official clergyman (who will actually preside at the execution). Beyond looms the Tyburn Tree. The executioner lays unconcernedly along one of the crossbeams, smoking his pipe and apparently inured to the nature of his work.

In the right background, more or less well behaved spectators wait. One releases a bird that will fly back to Newgate and give the news that (by the time it’s arrived) the malefactor is dead.

Around and in the midst of the semi-orderly procession, chaos reigns.

In the front center, a woman with a baby is advertising “The last dying Speech & Confession of—Tho. Idle.” although the condemned has not yet arrived at the gallows. To the left, a brawl involves two to four people. To her left, a drunken sot attempts to court her with ridiculous airs, notwithstanding his holding a dog up by the tail. The suspended dog, positioned directly below the gibbet in the picture, prefigures another “cur” who is about to be hanged. Behind them a massive riot goes on while a woman assaults the man pushing over her cart of fruit. A man to the far right peddles something. In one corner are two boys, one pickpocketing and the other resisting temptation, possibly echoing Idle and Goodchild.

The frame of the picture shows Thomas’ ultimate fate, hung on a gibbet for his highway collecting.

Finally, the verse at the bottom completes Idle’s doom.

Proverbs CHAP I Ver: 27, 28
When fear cometh as desolation, and their
destruction cometh as a Whirlwind; when
distress cometh upon them, they shall
call upon God, but he will not answer


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Affidavit Men

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Affidavit Men

Well, well, well.

We find Industry and Idle reunited this week in Plate 10, and even though it would seem that the high-risen Francis Goodchild has an open-and-shut case again the now-criminal Tom Idle, we see the witness for the prosecution taking a bribe for his testimony against Tom, and Francis covering his eyes to the deed.

Or do we?

Affidavit Men

Knights of the post, or false witnesses, said to attend Westminster Hall, and other courts of justice, ready to swear any thing for hire.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 10: The Industrious ‘Prentice Alderman of London, the Idle One Brought Before Him & Impeach’d by His Accomplice, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild and Idle are reunited. Goodchild is an alderman and a magistrate; Idle is a common criminal. The latter’s partner-in-crime places his hand on a bible, swearing that his testimony against Idle is the truth. Meanwhile, in a gesture of either sorrow or revulsion Goodchild turns away from Idle, who is pleading for mercy or for a chance to tell his version of events. The quotation from Leviticus (below Goodchild) reads: ‘Thou shalt do no unrighteousness in Judgement.’ Clearly Goodchild has no choice but to condemn Idle. Or has he? While Goodchild’s hand gestures, especially the covering of the eyes, may represent the impartiality of the justice system, it could as easily denote ‘blindness’ and hence a miscarriage of justice. After all, why would the testimony of one criminal carry weight over another? That the testimony is, in fact, suspect or false is underlined by the court official who holds the bible with one hand, while receiving a bribe with the other.

From the Wikipedia description:

Having led their separate lives for four plates each, the two apprentices meet again, considerably further down their paths of life. Again, Tom is on the left, Francis, the right (the frame is reversed, so the rope, etc. is above Francis).

Idle is now completely lost: his accomplice readily turns King’s evidence, a man behind him holds up the two pistols and sword used in the commission of the murder in one hand and points to Idle with the other, and he’s being arraigned before his former fellow-apprentice, who remembers his earlier inclinations and could well imagine him turning footpad. While he turns away, either struggling with his feelings (as implied by the quote at the bottom of the frame) or disgustedly spurning his entreaties, the clerk next to him writes out the warrant of admission “To the Turnkey of Newgate”.

To the right of Idle, his mother again tearfully pleads with an officer who dismisses her. The bailiff administering the oath has put his quill pen behind his ear facing forward, making him look ridiculous, so that he might take a bribe from the woman next to him, who is paying him to not notice that the oath he’s administering is being sworn with the wrong hand and hence worthless.

Fire buckets labelled “SA” hang from the balcony behind the crowd.

Under Tom Idle:

Psalm IX. Ver: 16.
The Wicked is snar’d in the
work of his own hands

Under Francis Goodchild:

Leviticus CH: XIX Ve: 15
Thou shall do no unrighteousness
in Judgement


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

Well, it’s back to William Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series with Plate 9 this week, and it’s a humdinger. Remembering that Plate 8 showed Francis Goodchild elevated to extreme wealth and the position of Sheriff of London, we contrast that to Tom Idle’s further descent: he’s moved on from the petty thievery of a highwayman to murder. Adding insult to injury is that he’s been betrayed by his whore.

Something to look forward to: Industry and Idle reunite in next week’s plate.


A murderer.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 9: The Idle ‘Prentice Betrayed and Taken in a Night-Cellar With His Accomplice, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Idle has been ‘betrayed by his Whore’. She is rewarded for her ‘treachery’ by the constable who enters the night cellar. Idle, oblivious to his imminent arrest, inspects a hat full of trinkets with his grotesque accomplice. The pistol on the floor near Idle and the body being pushed through a trap door by another man on the right indicates that the robbery has ended in murder, although who is responsible is not entirely clear. Thus through the influence and actions of their respective female partners, Goodchild’s and Idle’s fortunes have changed abruptly and significantly. This sets the scene for their reunion in the next plate.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle has now gone from highway robbery to out and out murder for petty gain. He’s shown here examining the effects of the dead man in a hat (probably his) between them, while another man pitches the body down a trap door. They are all totally oblivious not only to the men of the Law coming down the stairs with lit lanterns, but Idle’s prostitute being paid one coin for her information. Clearly, Idle is caught without any means of escape.

The background shows his most congenial surroundings to be the most lawless and depraved possible: playing cards are strewn in the left foreground, men are murdered with no hue and cry, a rope hangs ominously from one of the beams in the ceiling, a syphilitic woman with no nose serves a mug of something, presumably liquor and/or gin, and a massive drunken brawl occupies half of the room, while the others unconcernedly ignore it.

Proverbs CHAP: VI Ve: 26
The Adulterers will hunt for
the precious life.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Son of Mars

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Son of Mars

Taking a break from William Hogarth this week to observe the special day that happens to fall today.

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11, noting the moment the cessation of hostilities occurred on the Western Front of World War I, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. We call this day Veterans Day in the United States, honoring both the living and dead who serve or have served in the Armed Forces. It’s also known as Remembrance Day/Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom, and National Independence Day in Poland.

Whatever the name, it’s a sad truth that history is full of wars and conflicts, and thus full of those to remember. While Armistice Day/Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/National Independence Day the holidays are a relatively modern invention, the concept of honoring those who served in the brotherhood of military service is undoubtedly timeless.

Soldiers in St. James Park by Thomas Rowlandson, undated, Yale Center for British Art.

Son of Mars

A soldier.

Soldiers on a March by Thomas Rowlandson, 1805, Yale Center for British Art.


Slang term taken from 18th Century and Regency Thieves’ Cant by Pascal Bonenfant.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fat Cull

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fat Cull

The good times keep on coming for Francis Goodchild, as we see in Plate 8 of Industry and Idleness this week. Not only wealthy and the boss at his job, this week he’s the guest at a government banquet. More advantages of Goodchild’s marriage are also emphasized: his wife brought not just work and fiduciary benefits, but the Biblical quote suggests further blessings as he “exalts and embraces” her.

Incidentally, this is the plate in which we learn Francis is his first name.

Fat Cull

A rich fellow.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 8: The Industrious ‘Prentice Grown Right, & Sheriff of London, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild is now a wealthy man and one of two sheriffs of London. He and his wife are guests of honour at a City banquet. The setting has been identified as Fishmonger’s Hall near London Bridge. The advantages of Goodchild’s marriage, introduced into Plate 7, are developed further by the proverb accompanying Plate 9: ‘Exalt her & she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost Embrace her.’ This suggests that his marriage has not only secured his position within the master’s business but brought further advancements.

From the Wikipedia description:

Plate 8 shows the opulence that industry has produced (or rather, allowed to be procured): the couple sit at the far end of the table (Just to the left of the man in the foreground with the staff) on chairs, apparently in state. His chair has the sword of state on its right arm and on her left the crowned mace.

A significant portion of this plate is taken up with a related satire of gluttony, which takes place in the left foreground. In particular, the two on the far right warn that even earned riches are as susceptible to squander and waste as any other.

To the upper left, an orchestra on a balcony provides musical accompaniment.

The chamberlain (the man with the staff of office) examines a paper addressed “To the worship Fras Goodchild Esq. Sher[…] Lond” while a crowd of people mills at the bar. This is the first time we find out his first name.

Proverbs CH: IV Ver: 7, 8
With all thy getting get understanding
Exalt her, & she shall promote thee: she
shall bring thee to honour, when
thou dost Embrace her


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Public Ledger

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Public Ledger

Oh, lud.

Distinctions rarely get easier to make out than those between a proper wife and a common prostitute, and that’s exactly what we see between Plates 6 and 7 in Industry and Idleness. Francis Goodchild married well while Tom Idle secured for himself the lowest of all who sell their bodies; the former is respectable while the latter is anything but.

Public Ledger

A prostitute: because, like that paper, she is open to all parties.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 7: The Idle ‘Prentice Return’d from Sea, & in a Garret With a Common Prostitute, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Idle, too, has been interrupted by noise from outside. But whereas Goodchild acts calmly, having nothing to fear, Idle is startled and terrified. Contrasting with Goodchild’s open door, his is locked, bolted and reinforced with planks of wood. The reason is clear. He and his partner in crime are thieving for a living, the ‘rewards’ of which are examined by the prostitute.

From the Wikipedia description:

For reasons unknown (but probably related to his namesake vice), Tom Idle is back on land again. If he was callous enough to throw out his indenture leaving land, he certainly doesn’t feel bound by any law on his return as he has gone so far as to turn highwayman (more likely footpad) and take up a (dismal) residence with “a common Prostitute”.

…Thomas and his companion are shown living in complete squalor somewhere in London. The sole article of furniture in the room is the broken down bed that Tom and his woman are lying on. She is busy examining the various nonmonetary spoils from his thefts on the highway, including an earring that looks like a gallows. The bottles on the fireplace mantel are suggestive of venereal disease, similar to those of plate 3 in A Harlot’s Progress.

The broken flute and bottle, together with the pair of breeches discarded on the bedclothes, suggest they’ve been spending their time in drunken debauchery. Samuel Ireland suggests that he was doing this to drive away his fears of the law.

The principal event of the scene is a cat falling down the chimney with a few bricks (which strongly suggests the quality of the house they are lodging in), which causes Tom Idle to start up with all the fear of the law on him.

The extremely dilapidated condition of the building, lack of any obvious source of light or fire, and covering over of the window by a hoop petticoat suggest that Idle is in hiding and sparing no pains to keep his location a secret.

Leviticus CHAP: XXVI Ve: 30
The Sound of a Shaken Leaf
shall Chace him.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.