WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fortune Hunter

This week we discover Tom Rakewell giving rise to a historical romance novel trope: the profligate in need of a wife with blunt. In other words, beggars cannot be choosers. Hence the title of Plate 5 of A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth – Married to an Old Maid. Our hero/antihero/idiot needs money yesterday.

The paintings of A Rake’s Progress are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and are considered part of the public domain.

Fortune Hunter

Indigent man seeking to enrich himself by marrying a woman of fortune.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 5 – Married to An Old Maid (Engraving) by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the fifth, Tom attempts to salvage his fortune by marrying a rich but aged and ugly old maid at St Marylebone. In the background, Sarah arrives, holding their child while her indignant mother struggles with a guest. It looks as though Tom’s eyes are already upon the pretty maid to his new wife’s left during the nuptials.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 5 – Married to An Old Maid by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

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

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One thought on “WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fortune Hunter

  1. I’m reminded of Kitty Charing in Heyer’s Cotillion, even though she was neither old nor ugly. I was glad she turned out not to have a fortune, and that the fortune hunter Jack got a facer from the hero.

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