William Hogarth

Marriage A-la-Mode: Plate I - The Marriage Settlement


Marriage A-la-Mode is a series of six pictures painted and then engraved by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745.  They pillorise 18th-century society by showing the disastrous results of an ill-considered marriage for money rather than love.  This was Hogarth's first moralising series satirising upper class patronage and aesthetics.

The tale is of a marriage arranged by two self-seeking fathers - a spendthrift nobleman who requires cash and a wealthy City of London merchant who wants to buy into the aristocracy.

'The Marriage Settlement' is the first of the series and depicts The Earl of Squander negotiating the marriage of his son to the daughter of a wealthy Alderman of the City of London.  The Earl will receive cash and the Alderman a title for his family.  The son and daughter have no interest in each other and the two dogs chained together illustrate the unhappy bonds of their marriage.  Notably, there is a large black spot on the groom's neck suggesting he has already picked up syphilis on his travels.

This print is produced on St Cuthbert's Mill special acid free archival artboard.  The overall loose print size is 33cm x 24cm.  The framed print is presented in 20mm black wood archivist moulding, complete with rope hanger over hardboard back with a cream board mount.  The overall size is 43cm x 33cm.

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