WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

Well, it’s back to William Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series with Plate 9 this week, and it’s a humdinger. Remembering that Plate 8 showed Francis Goodchild elevated to extreme wealth and the position of Sheriff of London, we contrast that to Tom Idle’s further descent: he’s moved on from the petty thievery of a highwayman to murder. Adding insult to injury is that he’s been betrayed by his whore.

Something to look forward to: Industry and Idle reunite in next week’s plate.

Miller

A murderer.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 9: The Idle ‘Prentice Betrayed and Taken in a Night-Cellar With His Accomplice, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Idle has been ‘betrayed by his Whore’. She is rewarded for her ‘treachery’ by the constable who enters the night cellar. Idle, oblivious to his imminent arrest, inspects a hat full of trinkets with his grotesque accomplice. The pistol on the floor near Idle and the body being pushed through a trap door by another man on the right indicates that the robbery has ended in murder, although who is responsible is not entirely clear. Thus through the influence and actions of their respective female partners, Goodchild’s and Idle’s fortunes have changed abruptly and significantly. This sets the scene for their reunion in the next plate.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle has now gone from highway robbery to out and out murder for petty gain. He’s shown here examining the effects of the dead man in a hat (probably his) between them, while another man pitches the body down a trap door. They are all totally oblivious not only to the men of the Law coming down the stairs with lit lanterns, but Idle’s prostitute being paid one coin for her information. Clearly, Idle is caught without any means of escape.

The background shows his most congenial surroundings to be the most lawless and depraved possible: playing cards are strewn in the left foreground, men are murdered with no hue and cry, a rope hangs ominously from one of the beams in the ceiling, a syphilitic woman with no nose serves a mug of something, presumably liquor and/or gin, and a massive drunken brawl occupies half of the room, while the others unconcernedly ignore it.

Proverbs CHAP: VI Ve: 26
The Adulterers will hunt for
the precious life.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Son of Mars

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Son of Mars

Taking a break from William Hogarth this week to observe the special day that happens to fall today.

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11, noting the moment the cessation of hostilities occurred on the Western Front of World War I, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. We call this day Veterans Day in the United States, honoring both the living and dead who serve or have served in the Armed Forces. It’s also known as Remembrance Day/Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom, and National Independence Day in Poland.

Whatever the name, it’s a sad truth that history is full of wars and conflicts, and thus full of those to remember. While Armistice Day/Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/National Independence Day the holidays are a relatively modern invention, the concept of honoring those who served in the brotherhood of military service is undoubtedly timeless.

Soldiers in St. James Park by Thomas Rowlandson, undated, Yale Center for British Art.

Son of Mars

A soldier.

Soldiers on a March by Thomas Rowlandson, 1805, Yale Center for British Art.

 

Slang term taken from 18th Century and Regency Thieves’ Cant by Pascal Bonenfant.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fat Cull

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Fat Cull

The good times keep on coming for Francis Goodchild, as we see in Plate 8 of Industry and Idleness this week. Not only wealthy and the boss at his job, this week he’s the guest at a government banquet. More advantages of Goodchild’s marriage are also emphasized: his wife brought not just work and fiduciary benefits, but the Biblical quote suggests further blessings as he “exalts and embraces” her.

Incidentally, this is the plate in which we learn Francis is his first name.

Fat Cull

A rich fellow.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 8: The Industrious ‘Prentice Grown Right, & Sheriff of London, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild is now a wealthy man and one of two sheriffs of London. He and his wife are guests of honour at a City banquet. The setting has been identified as Fishmonger’s Hall near London Bridge. The advantages of Goodchild’s marriage, introduced into Plate 7, are developed further by the proverb accompanying Plate 9: ‘Exalt her & she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost Embrace her.’ This suggests that his marriage has not only secured his position within the master’s business but brought further advancements.

From the Wikipedia description:

Plate 8 shows the opulence that industry has produced (or rather, allowed to be procured): the couple sit at the far end of the table (Just to the left of the man in the foreground with the staff) on chairs, apparently in state. His chair has the sword of state on its right arm and on her left the crowned mace.

A significant portion of this plate is taken up with a related satire of gluttony, which takes place in the left foreground. In particular, the two on the far right warn that even earned riches are as susceptible to squander and waste as any other.

To the upper left, an orchestra on a balcony provides musical accompaniment.

The chamberlain (the man with the staff of office) examines a paper addressed “To the worship Fras Goodchild Esq. Sher[…] Lond” while a crowd of people mills at the bar. This is the first time we find out his first name.

Proverbs CH: IV Ver: 7, 8
With all thy getting get understanding
Exalt her, & she shall promote thee: she
shall bring thee to honour, when
thou dost Embrace her

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Public Ledger

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Public Ledger

Oh, lud.

Distinctions rarely get easier to make out than those between a proper wife and a common prostitute, and that’s exactly what we see between Plates 6 and 7 in Industry and Idleness. Francis Goodchild married well while Tom Idle secured for himself the lowest of all who sell their bodies; the former is respectable while the latter is anything but.

Public Ledger

A prostitute: because, like that paper, she is open to all parties.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 7: The Idle ‘Prentice Return’d from Sea, & in a Garret With a Common Prostitute, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Idle, too, has been interrupted by noise from outside. But whereas Goodchild acts calmly, having nothing to fear, Idle is startled and terrified. Contrasting with Goodchild’s open door, his is locked, bolted and reinforced with planks of wood. The reason is clear. He and his partner in crime are thieving for a living, the ‘rewards’ of which are examined by the prostitute.

From the Wikipedia description:

For reasons unknown (but probably related to his namesake vice), Tom Idle is back on land again. If he was callous enough to throw out his indenture leaving land, he certainly doesn’t feel bound by any law on his return as he has gone so far as to turn highwayman (more likely footpad) and take up a (dismal) residence with “a common Prostitute”.

…Thomas and his companion are shown living in complete squalor somewhere in London. The sole article of furniture in the room is the broken down bed that Tom and his woman are lying on. She is busy examining the various nonmonetary spoils from his thefts on the highway, including an earring that looks like a gallows. The bottles on the fireplace mantel are suggestive of venereal disease, similar to those of plate 3 in A Harlot’s Progress.

The broken flute and bottle, together with the pair of breeches discarded on the bedclothes, suggest they’ve been spending their time in drunken debauchery. Samuel Ireland suggests that he was doing this to drive away his fears of the law.

The principal event of the scene is a cat falling down the chimney with a few bricks (which strongly suggests the quality of the house they are lodging in), which causes Tom Idle to start up with all the fear of the law on him.

The extremely dilapidated condition of the building, lack of any obvious source of light or fire, and covering over of the window by a hoop petticoat suggest that Idle is in hiding and sparing no pains to keep his location a secret.

Leviticus CHAP: XXVI Ve: 30
The Sound of a Shaken Leaf
shall Chace him.

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tenant for Life

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tenant for Life

We’re back with Plate 6 this week, observing the virtues that mark Francis Goodchild’s life. Much like American television’s George Jefferson, he’s movin’ on up. Apprentice no longer, he’s now a partner with his former boss, and has married the his daughter.

The cynic in me declares good on you, Francis, with a wink and elbow jab. That IS industrious.

Tenant for Life

A married man; i.e. possessed of a woman for life.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 6: The Industrious ‘Prentice Out of His Time, & Married to His Master’s Daughter, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild has married the master’s daughter, thus their union is legal and respectable…. Plate 6 takes place in Fish Street Hill near the Monument (a memorial to the Great Fire of London in 1666), the base of which can be seen in the background. The well-appointed house occupied by Goodchild and his wife is both the couple’s home and a work place, which was common practice at this time. The couple have been interrupted taking tea by a large and potentially unruly band of musicians, drummers and butchers holding bones. While at first glance this appears to be part of the wedding celebrations, treating a newly-wedded couple to ‘rough music’ was a method of registering disapproval at marriages involving people from different social levels. The scene neatly underlines that Goodchild’s wealth and social advancement have not resulted solely from his exemplary attitude to work.

From the Wikipedia description:

The next plate shows that Francis Goodchild has been improving his time, as usual. He has also escaped his apprenticeship, but in the intended manner: having served his time, he is free and a journeyman weaver. Beyond that even, the sign of “WEST and GOODCHILD” under their trademark of a lion rampant shows that his former master has taken him into partnership (not an unreasonable step given that he previously kept the accounts).

The other significant change is that Miss West, last seen in Plate 2, has become Mrs. Goodchild. The scene here is likely the day after, when they distribute the remnants of the feast to various poor people.

Francis is at the window holding a teacup (without a handle) and giving a coin. In the foreground at the door a footman gives away a plate. To the left, a legless man in a tub, probably invalided from the Army or Navy, holds out a sheet of paper containing “Jeſse or the Happy Pair. A new Song”. Behind him a Frenchman with a base viol is forced out of the line by a (British) butcher.

The background shows the London Monument when it contained the lines “by the treachery of the Popish Faction.”

Proverbs CH: XII Ver: 4
The Virtuous Woman is a
Crown to her Husband.

 

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Adrift

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Adrift

Last week, in Plate 4, we saw Francis Goodchild rewarded for his industry and piety with the proverbial keys to his master’s kingdom and the money pouch as he became the keeper of the looms rather than the worker of one. As William Hogarth contrasts Industry and Idleness, this week in Plate 5, we observe Tom Idle’s rewards for his willful lack of useful productivity.

It is interesting to observe the different interpretations between the Tate Museum and Wikipedia descriptions this week: the former depicts the scene more positively as a new job search financed by his mother, while the latter sees it more derisively as a tossing out on his ear by his former boss while his companions pour salt on his wounds.

Adrift

Loose, turned adrift, discharged. Sea Phrase.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 5: The Idle ‘Prentice Turn’d Away, and Sent to Sea, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

In contrast, Idle sets out for a life at sea, probably paid for by his mother in the hope of him finding paid employment (she sits weeping in front of him). He is accompanied on the journey to an awaiting ship by two characters, who take delight in goading him. One points to the vessel, the other, with his hand on Idle’s shoulder, holds a ‘cat-o’-nine-tails’ whip in his hand, a common form of punishment on board ship. The choppy waves and storm-filled skies portend the violence and insecurity of Idle’s future.

From the Wikipedia description:

On the other hand, Tom Idle’s useless ways have finally gotten their reward: His master (possibly with the consultation of or incitement by Francis) either throws him out or orders him away to sea. In either case, Tom clearly feels that his authority over him is at an end and has cast his indenture into the boat’s wake in the lower left-hand corner.

Judging by his companions’ antics, his reputation of laziness and disobedience have preceded him: One tries to tease him with the frayed end of a rope (i.e. a cat o’ nine tails), the other points towards a man hanging from a gallows at the waterline for some nautical crime (It is also possible he’s pointing at their ship). The sky also grows noticeably darker in the direction their boat is pointed.

For the first time, we learn his name from the wooden crate next to him labelled “Tho Idle his Chest”. An old woman, dressed as a widow, tearfully remonstrates with him, while he ignores her. The verse at the bottom clearly indicates this is his mother.

In the background, on low land, are a number of Dutch windmills.

Proverbs CHAP: X Ve: 1
A foolish son is the heavineſs
of his Mother

 

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

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tip-Top

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Tip-Top

This week we find Francis Goodchild moving up in the world in Plate 4 of Industry and Idleness. The lesson to be learned: diligence has rewards.

Tip-Top

The best: perhaps from fruit, that growing at the top of the tree being generally the best, as partaking most of the sun. A tip-top workman; the best, or most excellent Workman.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 4: The Industrious ‘Prentice a Favourite, and Entrusted by His Master, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Plate 4 highlights Goodchild’s rise in the master weaver’s business. Once he had worked at the looms on the shop floor, but now he is in the master weaver’s counting office. The master leans on his shoulder in a gesture of affection and trust. The gloves on the desk, positioned like a hand shake, suggest that a deal has been made concerning the master’s business and that they are in partnership.

From the Wikipedia description:

Clearly Goodchild’s industry and piety are paying off. He’s now no longer working a loom, but rather keeping his master’s business: He holds the “Day Book”, keys to the house and a pouch of money. His master is also present and using the greatest familiarity with him, further testifying to his advanced state. On the desk before them two gloves shaking hands illustrate the friendship and foreshadow their ultimate harmony and agreement in plate 6.

Behind them are a row of women at looms and one at a spinning wheel and to the left, a man wearing the symbol of the Corporation of London and carrying material in labelled “To Mr West”. Both show that the business is a going concern.

To the lower right a copy of the “London Almanack” is tacked up, headed by an allegorical figure of the genius of Industry assaulting Father Time. A dog stands by the carrier, annoying a cat up on the platform West and Goodchild stand on.

Matthew CH: XXV Ve: 21
Well done good and faithfull
servant thou hast been faithfull
over a few things, I will make thee
Ruler over many things

 

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