Paging Dr. Phil, the Georgian era Dr. Phil. Or better yet, Steve Harvey. He’s pretty much the take-no-prisoners kind of non-certified therapist that this poor couple needs.
Unlike the past two Hogarth series I’ve profiled (A Rake’s Progress and A Harlot’s Progress), I’ve not looked at this series in its entirety. I’m looking at each painting as I write each post, which seems unheard of in this day of binge-watching entire seasons of shows, courtesy the Netflix-syndrome. I’m not sure if this couple will go the route of typical aristos and ignore each other, he with his mercury and she with her -ew, how bougee- lawyer, or if the newly minted Earl hubs will get airs and banish his Countess.
One thing is definite, by Hogarth’s Hand, and that is, the Countess has evidently given as good as her Earl. I feel like the number of horns in the painting alone qualifies this as a precursor to a Highlights magazine hidden pictures puzzle.
Hopefully minus the syphilis.
From the Wikipedia description:
In the fourth, The Toilette (the name on its frame), called The Countess’s Morning Levee by Hogarth, the old earl has died, so the son is now the new earl and his wife is the countess. The countess sits with her back to her guests, oblivious to them, as a servant attends to her toilette (grooming). The lawyer Silvertongue from the first painting is reclining next to the countess, suggesting the existence of an affair. This point is underlined by the child in front of the pair, pointing to the horns on the statue of Actaeon, a symbol of cuckoldry. Paintings in the background include the biblical story of Lot and his daughters, Jupiter and Io, and the rape of Ganymede. The Actaeon and several other figurines are seen marked for auction. Such paintings show the African, presumed to be untamed fetish-worshipper and hunter, now fashioned into an icon of courtly style.
Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.