WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Ace of Spades

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Ace of Spades

Blindsided.

Gutted.

Marriage à-la-mode did not end the way I thought it would. No wonder these paintings were not received as well as his others. This series is full-on tragedy. What began as satire, for me, quickly spiraled into pure devastation. That poor child has a spot on his face, and we all know what that means. Only the dog is having a good day.

Marriage à-la-mode, a series of six pictures painted by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745, are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery.

Ace of Spades

A widow.

Marriage à-la-mode: 6, The Lady’s Death (The Suicide of the Countess), by William Hogarth, 1743, National Gallery.

From the Wikipedia description:

Finally, in the sixth painting, The Lady’s Death (the name on its frame), called The Suicide of the Countess by Hogarth, the countess poisons herself in her grief and poverty-stricken widowhood, after her lover is hanged at Tyburn for murdering her husband. An old woman carrying her baby allows the child to give her a kiss, but the mark on the child’s cheek and the caliper on her leg suggest that disease has been passed onto the next generation. The countess’s father, whose miserly lifestyle is evident in the bare house, removes the wedding ring from her finger.

 

Dat father tho – once a cit, always a cit. The Bingley sisters may have been right after all, for all that they were barely fronting their one-generation-removed status.

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

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Capricornified

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Capricornified

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.

Capricornified

Cuckolded, hornified.

Marriage à-la-mode: 4, The Toilette (The Countess’s Morning Levee), by William Hogarth, 1743, National Gallery.

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.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Nimgimmer

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Nimgimmer

Well, that escalated quickly.

Remember that time your typical society marriage was all beer and skittles, and you each went your married way, until your husband dandled a prostitute with an open sore on her mouth on his “knee.” The next thing you know, it’s mercury pills and trips to the doctor.

Yeah, that time. Oh, to have been a young Georgian lady with a father looking to marry her off to any young heir to an Earldom. Lud.

This is the third portrait in Marriage à-la-mode, a series of six pictures painted by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745. The series is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery. It’s time to visit the doctor this week…although the curator of the National Gallery’s exhibition has doubts about just whose interests the physician in this portrait is serving.

Nimgimmer

A physician or surgeon, particularly those who cure the venereal disease.

Marriage à-la-mode: 3, The Inspection (The Visit to the Quack Doctor), by William Hogarth, 1743, National Gallery.

From the Wikipedia description:

The third in the series, The Inspection (the name on its frame), called The Visit to the Quack Doctor by Hogarth, shows the viscount (the earl’s son) visiting a quack with a young prostitute. According to one interpretation, the viscount, unhappy with the mercury pills meant to cure his syphilis, demands a refund while the young prostitute next to him dabs an open sore on her mouth, an early sign of syphilis. But according to the analysis of Judy Egerton, the curator of the National Gallery’s exhibition, the interpretation is very different: The viscount has brought the child to the doctor because he believes he has infected her with syphilis. The woman with the knife is the girl’s mother, feigning anger in order to blackmail the viscount, who is being set up. The child already had the disease when her mother sold her to him, either because he was not her first “protector” or because she inherited the illness from her syphilitic father, who is the quack doctor.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Noozed

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Noozed

And just like that, in the space between two paintings, the shine has worn off and our married couple are fully in the throes of “the honeymoon is over.”

If it had ever really begun.

This is, after all, the marriage between two parties for the purposes of furthering family names, growing estate holdings, and/or enlarging coffers.

Marriage à-la-mode, a series of six pictures painted by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745, are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery.

Noozed

Married, hanged.

Marriage à-la-mode: 2, The Tête à Tête (Shortly After the Marriage), by William Hogarth, 1743, National Gallery.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the second, The Tête à Tête (the name on its frame), called Shortly After the Marriage, there are signs that the marriage has already begun to break down. The husband and wife appear uninterested in one another, amidst evidence of their separate overindulgences the night before. A small dog finds a lady’s cap in the husband’s coat pocket, indicating his adulterous ventures. A broken sword at his feet shows that he has been in a fight. The open posture of the wife also indicates unfaithfulness. As Hogarth once noted: “A lock of hair falling thus cross the temples … has an effect too alluring to be strictly decent, as is very well known to the loose and lowest class of women.” The disarray of the house and the servant holding a stack of unpaid bills shows that the affairs of the household are a mess.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Venus’s Curse

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Venus’s Curse

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Seriously. Who can look at Moll’s face, posture, or living conditions in Plate 5 and not be affected. The doctors attending her were Richard Rock (the chubby one) and Jean Misaubin (the skinny one), who both advertised in 1732 their inventions of pills that would supposedly cure venereal disease. I almost chose a different slang term this week: nimginner, meaning a physician or surgeon, particularly those who “cure” the venereal disease.

A Harlot’s Progress was a series of six paintings and engravings. The paintings were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill House in 1755, but the original engraving plates survived, and are in the public domain.

Venus’s Curse

The venereal disease.

A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 5 – Moll Dying of Syphilis, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

From the Wikipedia description:

Moll is now dying of syphilis. Dr. Richard Rock on the left (black hair) and Dr. Jean Misaubin on the right (white hair) argue over their medical methods, which appear to be a choice of bleeding (Rock) and cupping (Misaubin). A woman, possibly Moll’s bawd and possibly the landlady, rifles Moll’s possessions for what she wishes to take away.

Two Doctors and the Landlady/Bawd from A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 5 – Moll Dying of Syphilis, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

Meanwhile, Moll’s maid tries to stop the looting and arguing. Moll’s son sits by the fire, possibly addled by his mother’s venereal disease. He is picking lice or fleas out of his hair. The only hint as to the apartment’s owner is a Passover cake used as a fly-trap, implying that her former keeper is paying for her in her last days and ironically indicating that Moll will, unlike the Israelites, not be spared. Several opiates (“anodynes”) and “cures” litter the floor. Moll’s clothes seem to reach down for her as if they were ghosts drawing her to the afterlife.

Moll, Her Maid, and Son from A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 5 – Moll Dying of Syphilis, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Canary Bird

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Canary Bird

We’ve seen fresh-faced, country girl Moll Hackabout arrive in London, hit the harlotry jackpot and become a mistress, only to fall a few rungs into prostitution. This week, with Plate 4, she has fallen further and is now in jail (or gaol, if you prefer).

It’s amazing the amount of sympathy I feel for Moll, as compared to Tom Rakewell from A Rake’s Progress. For me, I feel that Moll came to London innocently enough, hoping for the best, although I wonder if she was warned on the coach along the way, that little good turned out for girls on their own in Town. In contrast, Tom Rakewell earns my ire, having been given every advantage only to squander them, despite having several chances to repent and escape his ultimate fate. Moll finally looks defeated in this plate, too, which somehow makes it worse.

A Harlot’s Progress was a series of six paintings and engravings. The paintings were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill House in 1755, but the original engraving plates survived, and are in the public domain.

Canary Bird

A jail bird, a person used to be kept in a cage. Prisoners.

A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 4 – Moll Beats Hemp in Bridewell Prison, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

From the Wikipedia description:

Moll is in Bridewell Prison. She beats hemp for hangman’s nooses, while the jailer threatens her and points to the task. Fielding would write that Thwackum, one of Tom Jones’s sadistic tutors, looked precisely like the jailer. The jailer’s wife steals clothes from Moll, winking at theft. The prisoners go from left to right in order of decreasing wealth. Moll is standing next to a gentleman, a card-sharp whose extra playing card has fallen out, and who has brought his dog with him. The inmates are in no way being reformed, despite the ironic engraving on the left above the occupied stocks, reading “Better to Work/ than Stand thus.” The person suffering in the stocks apparently refused to work.

Moll, the Jailer, and His Wife, from A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 4 – Moll Beats Hemp in Bridewell Prison, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

Next is a woman, a child who may suffer from Down syndrome (belonging to the sharper, probably), and finally a pregnant African woman who presumably “pleaded her belly” when brought to trial, as pregnant women could not be executed or transported. A prison graffito shows John Gonson hanging from the gallows. Moll’s servant smiles as Moll’s clothes are stolen, and the servant appears to be wearing Moll’s shoes.

Prisoners and Moll’s Servant from A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 4 – Moll Beats Hemp in Bridewell Prison, by William Hogarth, 1732, British Museum.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Covent Garden Nun

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Covent Garden Nun

We’re halfway through A Harlot’s Progress, up to Plate 3 – Moll as a Prostitute. I think the whole of the series is progression of sadness, but this plate always brings home the reality of Moll’s life to me. I think there must be some hope – even if it’s only delusion – when one is a mistress. Yes, you’re a kept woman, looked down on by polite society, but you’re not on the street, not in a brothel, and have a modicum of control over your life. But now that Moll has sunk from mistress to prostitute, what little sovereignty she had has evaporated.

A Harlot’s Progress was a series of six paintings and engravings. The paintings were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill House in 1755, but the original engraving plates survived, and are in the public domain.

Covent Garden Nun

A prostitute.

A Harlot’s Progress – Plate 3 – Moll as a Prostitute, by William Hogarth, 1732, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

Moll has gone from kept woman to common prostitute. Her maid is now old and syphilitic, and Henry Fielding, in Tom Jones (2:3), would say that the maid looks like his character of Mrs. Partridge. Her bed is her only major piece of furniture, and the cat poses to suggest Moll’s new posture. The witch hat and birch rods on the wall suggest either black magic, or more importantly that prostitution is the devil’s work. Her heroes are on the wall: Macheath from The Beggar’s Opera and Henry Sacheverell, and two cures for syphilis are above them. The wig box of highwayman James Dalton (hanged on 11 May 1730) is stored over her bed, suggesting a romantic dalliance with the criminal. The magistrate, Sir John Gonson, with three armed bailiffs, is coming through the door on the right side of the frame to arrest Moll for her activities. Moll is showing off a new watch (perhaps a present from Dalton, perhaps stolen from another lover) and exposing her left breast. Gonson, however, is fixed upon the witch’s hat and ‘broom’ or the periwig hanging from the wall above Moll’s bed.

The composition satirically resembles that of an Annunciation, i.e. the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke 1:26–39.

 

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