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The young couple's depravity has increased and their idle, pleasure-seeking lives are now so unconnected that they are portrayed in separate plates. Plate III shows the husband attending to one of the consequences of his debauchery.
He has come to a quack whose house is a gallery of grotesque objects, many of them images of death. In a glass case behind the young nobleman a human skeleton makes sexual advances to a preserved cadaver. A wig block stands beside them. The horn of a narwhal projects from the side of the case; the horn and the shaving dish between the pillboxes and the urinal warn that this quack was trained as a barber.
Above these hangs a stuffed crocodile with an ostrich's egg attached to its belly. Through the door the quack's laboratory is visible. In the left foreground stand two threatening machines used for oddly divergent purposes: "An explanation of two superb machines, one for setting shoulders, the other for pulling corks, invented by Mr.
Pill, seen and approved by the Royal Academy of Sciencesof Paris. A ferocious wolf's head seems to warn of their contents and of their owner's voraciousness. Beside the chest stand two mummies and two pictures of abnormal human beings. Squanderfield, half-threateningly and half-cajolingly, complains about the efficacy of the doctor's pills.
The bowlegged quack, standing beside a memento mori , defends himself. The pathetic, tearful child standing between the nobleman's legs seems to be the victim of his decadent appetite for girl-children, his interest in normal sexual relationships having been exhausted. The relationships between the nobleman, his child-mistress and the commanding, fierce-eyed woman who opens the clasp knife is unclear. The wild-eyed woman may be his second mistress, prompted to violence by the disease acquired from the man or by jealousy of the younger girl; she may be the girl's mother or procurer about to revenge her pollution of defend some aspect of her business reputation.
Ravenet Heath edition, Sheet size: approx. Having cast off her middle class awkwardness and inhibition, the Countess imitates the life style of the aristocracy the coronets about the room indicate that the old Earl is dead. In contrast to her husband's bizarre passion for young girls, the Countess's middle-class origins reveal themselves in here interest in an ordinary love affair. Wearing jewelry on her hair and fingers and dressed in a low-cut gown, she sits at her levee with her back to her guests, oblivious to the music, attentive only to the addresses of Silvertongue.
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A child's rattle on her chair reveals that she has a baby which she has the servants care for. Looking very much at home, Silvertongue lolls on the couch beside her, leaning intimately toward her. The paper in his hand reading "1st Door," "2d Door," "3d Door" is a key to the screen. The art in the room comments on the lady's preoccupation.
Above her are pictures of Lot's daughters preparing to seduce their father and Jupiter possessing Io. On the opposite wall hang a version of the rape of Ganymede and a portrait of Silvertongue himself. Before them a black boy plays with a group of tasteless art objects purchased by the lady at an auction. Babyhouse to be Sold by Auction. Lying on the floor across from the youth are playing cards and correspondence, both indicative of the Countess's social life. Most of the group sit around in strained, affected poses.
The center of focus is a bloated castrato probably Francesco Bernardi, and Italian singer who lived in England for a while. Overdressed in gold lace and tastelessly bedecked with jewels, the vain fellow sits haughtily back in his chair, unaware that only two in the whole group listen to him. Next to the singer sits a man with his hair in papers, bored but formally attentive. Beside him a fellow gestures preciously and screws his face up in feigned appreciation.
A man with a riding whip snores while his wife strains forward in the direction of the castrato. A black servant laughs at the scene. Hearing of the lawyer's and Countess's assignation, the young Earl has come to their dreary meeting place, challenged the councilor to a duel and died in the defense of a virute which he neither honored nor valued in a woman he did not love.
From a masquerade, the couple have gone to the Turks Head bagnio a paper with a Turk's head and the words "The Bagnio" lies by the woman's underwear. Undressing hastily, they have gone to bed but have been suprised before the end of the night. In the ensuing fight, the Earl is killed and, as the horrified landlord and watch enter, the lawyer flees in his shirt, abandoning his mistress to the police and her dying spouse.
She kneels in tears to beg his forgiveness. The eerie lighting from the fire, the shadows from the tongs and the sword, the scattered undergarments and the grinning masks prophetic death masks give a grotesque atmosphere to the scene. The tapestry on the main wall depicts in a caricatured manner the judgment of Solomon. The portrait of the prostitute with a squirrel in her hand is satirized by the appearance of a soldier's legs beneath it.
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Above the door St. Luke, patron of artists, seems to record the scene in amazement. Her husband killed and her lover hanged, the Countess, returned to her father's house, is driven to suicide by the tragic consequences of the foolish and ill-fated venture perpetrated on her.
Plainly dressed, she expires on a chair as an ineffectual physician scurries away.
The crippled girl has inherited both her father's veneral disease and his beauty spot; since the young Earl has no male child, his family line has ended. The apothecary, who has a stomach pump and a "julep" bottle in his pocket, points to the empty laudenum bottle, and berates the servant who looks at it uncomprehendingly. The fellow, who wears his master's ill-fitting coat buttoned askew, is an idiot hired cheaply by the alderman.
The house reflects the alderman's miserly life style, which has supported his costly and tragic manipulation of his daughter's life. A dark apartment with bare floors and cobwebbed window with broken panes, is located near London Bridge, which at that time had house built across it.
On the wall hangs the alderman' robe, a clock with its figures reversed it should be P. In the alderman's cabinet stands a single liquor bottle, some pipes and a library of five books; four are financial records: the "Day Boo," "Ledge," "Rent Book" and "Compound Interest.
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Thank you. At a time when arranged marriages were the subject of numerous deliberations, this series exemplifies Hogarth's belief in its dangers as he depicts the unflattering and tragic events of the bride and groom and their respective families. The concluding print of this series takes place in the home of the young widow's family. Hysterical after hearing the news of her lover Silvertongue's execution for the slaying of her husband, she has attempted suicide by overdosing on pills. As she takes her last breaths, her young child is held up for her to see one last time.
Standing at her side is her father who is seen stealing from his dying daughter as he slips her wedding ring from her finger. Ultimately, Hogarth has depicted the tragic fates of those obsessed with greed and the terrible consequences of their decisions.