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 ~ 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.