William Hogarth

Marriage A-la-Mode: Plate II - The Tête à Tête


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 Tête à Tête' is the second of the series and depicts the bride stretching sleepily after a long night playing cards, although the tipped over chair and fiddle cases suggest she was engaged in more intimate activities than card playing.  The groom is slumped in his chair after a night of debauchery, with a girl's muslin cap in his pocket and another on the hilt of his sword.  The steward leaves the disharmonious couple with a wad of unpaid bills under his arm.

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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