WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

We’ve come to the penultimate piece in Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series, and it’s a tragic, though not wholly unexpected one. Tom Idle meets his fate: we see that he’s headed to Tyburn.

Collar Day

Execution day.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 11: The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Earlier in the series Idle had chosen gambling and cheating in the churchyard rather than attend the church service. Now he desperately reads a Book of Common Prayer [sic], while a Methodist clergyman evangelises over sin and damnation beside him. The Tyburn gallows, seen in the centre background, was a distinctive tripod-shaped wooden construction on which numerous criminals could be hung at once. After execution there was sometimes a scramble for the corpse between the assistance of surgeons, who required it for research and the teaching of anatomy, and friends and family of the hanged. The coffin accompanying Idle suggests that he is intended to be buried post-execution. However, the skeletons displayed either side of the print suggests that his body will end-up anatomised.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle now comes, like Tom Nero in The Four Stages of Cruelty, to the reward of his depredations and malice: a felon’s death on the gallows.

The procession from left to right shows a detachment of soldiers riding behind the tumbrel, which contains a preacher with a book labelled Wesley, a reference to Methodism. The cleric vigorously discourses to a now hairless Thomas Idle, who is leaning on his own coffin (marked by the initials “T.I.”). The coach ahead carries the Official clergyman (who will actually preside at the execution). Beyond looms the Tyburn Tree. The executioner lays unconcernedly along one of the crossbeams, smoking his pipe and apparently inured to the nature of his work.

In the right background, more or less well behaved spectators wait. One releases a bird that will fly back to Newgate and give the news that (by the time it’s arrived) the malefactor is dead.

Around and in the midst of the semi-orderly procession, chaos reigns.

In the front center, a woman with a baby is advertising “The last dying Speech & Confession of—Tho. Idle.” although the condemned has not yet arrived at the gallows. To the left, a brawl involves two to four people. To her left, a drunken sot attempts to court her with ridiculous airs, notwithstanding his holding a dog up by the tail. The suspended dog, positioned directly below the gibbet in the picture, prefigures another “cur” who is about to be hanged. Behind them a massive riot goes on while a woman assaults the man pushing over her cart of fruit. A man to the far right peddles something. In one corner are two boys, one pickpocketing and the other resisting temptation, possibly echoing Idle and Goodchild.

The frame of the picture shows Thomas’ ultimate fate, hung on a gibbet for his highway collecting.

Finally, the verse at the bottom completes Idle’s doom.

Proverbs CHAP I Ver: 27, 28
When fear cometh as desolation, and their
destruction cometh as a Whirlwind; when
distress cometh upon them, they shall
call upon God, but he will not answer


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.