WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Touched

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Touched

The final painting of A Rake’s Progress – Plate 8 – In the Madhouse, is the sad ending to William Hogarth’s storyboard of art work. Tom is now of unsound mind, financially destitute, and a spectacle for both medical professionals and the bored elite.

While Bethlem Royal Hospital today is a state-of-the-art medical establishment for the treatment of psychiatric conditions, its history is much more sordid. Tom Rakewell would have dealt with the Monro family, who controlled the hospital for a total of 125 years, beginning in 1728. Under their watch, Bedlam, as the hospital came to be known, was a place where patient treatment consisted of frequent beatings, malnourishment to starvation, and ice baths to induce a return to sanity. When funds ran low for these so-called curatives ran low, the hospital opened its doors to family visitation; they generally declined to come. Instead, the scheme drew wealthy women touring what amounted to cruel entertainment in the form of everything from chained patients experiencing their “treatments,” to ill and abused patients wandering the halls and grounds.

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.

Touched

Insane, crazy. Touched in the head.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 8 – In the Madhouse by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

Finally insane and violent, in the eighth painting he ends his days in Bethlem Hospital (Bedlam), London’s infamous mental asylum. Only Sarah Young is there to comfort him, but Rakewell continues to ignore her. While some of the details in these pictures may appear disturbing to 21st-century eyes, they were commonplace in Hogarth’s day. For example, the fashionably dressed women in this last painting have come to the asylum as a social occasion, to be entertained by the bizarre antics of the inmates.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 8 – In the Madhouse (Engraving) by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Done Up

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Done Up

We’re up to Plate 6 in William Hogarth’s A Rake’s ProgressScene in a Gaming House. Tom Rakewell, briefly flush with blunt after marrying for it in last week’s plate, is once again in the throes of his bad decisions. You know things are bad when you lose your hair.

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.

Done Up

Ruined by gaming and extravagances. Modern Term.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 6 – Scene in a Gaming House (Engraving) by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

The sixth painting shows Tom pleading for the assistance of the Almighty in a gambling den at White’s club in Soho after losing his reacquired wealth. Neither he nor the other obsessive gamblers seem to have noticed a fire that is breaking out behind them.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 6 – Scene in a Gaming House by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

I think so much more detail can be seen in the engraving versus the oil portrait: I didn’t even notice that something was on fire in the background of the latter. Another observation for the Regency romance author is that this scene presents a sneak peek into a gambling room at White’s. An awful lot of men were crammed into that small space (possibly scenting blood in the water as Tom lost his fortune), and the decorations were spare (possibly an omission of the artist, but why decorate what men would likely not care to admire?).

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fortune Hunter

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.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clap on the Shoulder

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clap on the Shoulder

This week we discover Plate 4 of A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth – Arrested For Debt. Our hero, or antihero, Tom Rakewell, is truly reaping now what he has sown.

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.

Clap on the Shoulder

An arrest for debt; whence a bum bailiff is called a shoulder-clapper.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 4 – Arrested For Debt by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the fourth, he narrowly escapes arrest for debt by Welsh bailiffs (as signified by the leeks, a Welsh emblem, in their hats) as he travels in a sedan chair to a party at St. James’s Palace to celebrate Queen Caroline’s birthday on Saint David’s Day (Saint David is the patron saint of Wales). On this occasion he is saved by the intervention of Sarah Young, the girl he had earlier rejected; she is apparently a dealer in millinery. In comic relief, a man filling a street lantern spills the oil on Tom’s head. This is a sly reference to how blessings on a person were accompanied by oil poured on the head; in this case, the ‘blessing’ being the ‘saving’ of Tom by Sarah, although Rakewell, being a rake, will not take the moral lesson to heart. In the engraved version, lightning flashes in the sky and a young pickpocket has just emptied Tom’s pocket. The painting, however, shows the young thief stealing Tom’s cane, and has no lightning.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 4 – Arrested For Debt by William Hogarth, oil on canvas, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Corinthians

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Corinthians

Moving along through William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1735), we come to Plate 3: The Tavern Scene, or The Orgy. Main character Tom Rakewell has progressed from innocent heir to budding man-about-town, to this week’s full-blown ne’er-do-well.

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.

Corinthians

Frequenters of brothels. Also an impudent, brazen-faced fellow, perhaps from the Corinthian brass.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 3 – The Tavern Scene, Engraving by William Hogarth, 1735, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

The third painting depicts a wild party or orgy underway at a brothel. The prostitutes are stealing the drunken Tom’s watch. On the floor at bottom right is a night watchman’s staff and lantern — souvenirs of Tom’s ‘wild night’ on the town. The scene takes place at the Rose Tavern, a famous brothel in Covent Garden. The prostitutes have black spots on their faces to cover syphilitic sores.

Tom, Tom, Tom…. And thus we witness the beginning of his end.

There is certainly no comparing Georgette Heyer’s titular character, Sir Richard Wyndham, whom I adore. Her perennially bored, devilish drunk, unluckiest dog alive, was about as far from Tom Rakewell on a good day as possible. Heyer’s use of the slang term in The Corinthian seems to prove the oft-tossed about rumor that she made up her own definitions and terms to track when others copied her. Her Corinthian was extremely benign, lovable, and jovial, for all that he was fairly useless, up until the point he spied Pen Creed dangling from her window. Certainly nothing to imply the actual slang definition of the term.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Young One

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Young One

Continuing our journey through William Hogarth’s series of eight paintings collectively known as A Rake’s Progress (painted from 1732-34 and published in 1735), this week we look at Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors. Based on the reaction of the title characters to our protagonist, Tom Rakewell, I picked a slang term I thought might reflect their feelings.

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

Young One

A familiar expression of contempt for another’s ignorance, as “ah! I see you’re a young one.” How d’ye do, young one?

A Rake’s Progress, Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the second painting, Tom is at his morning levée in London, attended by musicians and other hangers-on all dressed in expensive costumes. Surrounding Tom from left to right: a music master at a harpsichord, who was supposed to represent George Frideric Handel; a fencing master; a quarterstaff instructor; a dancing master with a violin; a landscape gardener Charles Bridgeman; an ex-soldier offering to be a bodyguard; a bugler of a fox hunt club. At lower right is a jockey with a silver trophy. The quarterstaff instructor looks disapprovingly on both the fencing and dancing masters. Both masters appear to be in the “French” style, which was a subject Hogarth loathed. Upon the wall, between paintings of roosters (emblems of Cockfighting) there is a painting of the Judgement of Paris.

Interestingly, in this painting’s colorized version, the image is not reversed, unlike the image in the Plate No. 1 last week. So my theory of the copying process reversing the scene was evidently spot-on (she reports with heavy sarcasm).

A Rake’s Progress, Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

I felt the need to begin a series of posts illustrating William Hogarth’s series of eight paintings from 1732-34 (and published en masse in 1735) known as A Rake’s Progress. The paintings reveal the rise, decline, and demise of Tom Rakewell, the son and heir of a wealthy merchant who inherits, comes to London, lives out the parable of the Prodigal Son, and eventually takes an involuntary tour of the Fleet Prison and Bedlam. The paintings are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and considered part of the public domain.

Chub

He is a young chub, or a mere chub; i.e. a foolish fellow, easily imposed on: an illusion to a fish of that name, easily taken.

Plate No. 1, A Rake’s Progress, The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser’s Effects. From the Wikipedia description:

In the first painting, Tom has come into his fortune on the death of his miserly father. While the servants mourn, he is measured for new clothes. Although he has had a common-law marriage with her, he now rejects the hand of his pregnant fiancée, Sarah Young, whom he had promised to marry (she holds his ring and her mother holds his love letters). He pays her off, but she still loves him, as becomes clear in the fourth painting. Evidence of the father’s miserliness abound: his portrait above the fireplace shows him counting money; symbols of hospitality (a jack and spit) have been locked up at upper right; the coat of arms shows three clamped vises with the motto “Beware”; a half-starved cat reveals the father kept little food in the house, while lack of ashes in the fireplace demonstrates that he rarely spent money on wood to heat his home. The engraving at the right shows the father went so far as to resole his shoes with a piece of leather cut from a Bible cover.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

I thought it was interesting that the colorized version was reversed, I’m assuming due to the printing/copying process. Based on the description of this first plate, it’s about to get all biblical up in here for Tom.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.