This week it’s the penultimate plate of A Rake’s Progress: Plate 7 – The Prison Scene. Tom has officially reached the end of his rope without reaching the end of His Majesty’s rope…as of yet. And he’s receiving a whole new kind of education at this institution.
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.
Bridewell, Newgate, or any other prison, or house of correction.
From the Wikipedia description:
All is lost by the seventh painting, and Tom is incarcerated in the notorious Fleet debtors’ prison. He ignores the distress of both his angry new wife and faithful Sarah, who cannot help him this time. Both the beer-boy and jailer demand money from him. Tom begins to go mad, as indicated by both a telescope for celestial observation poking out of the barred window (an apparent reference to the Longitude rewards offered by the British government) and an alchemy experiment in the background. Beside Tom is a rejected play; another inmate is writing a pamphlet on how to solve the national debt. Above the bed at right is an apparatus for wings, which is more clearly seen in the engraved version at the left.
Between Plates 6 and 7, I’m pleased to note Tom has found his periwig, at least, and replaced it upon his nog.
Next week we wrap up our visit to Soane’s Museum and our tour of A Rake’s Progress.
Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.