William Hogarth

Paintings and engravings

A Harlot's Progress (1732)
A Rake's Progress (1733)
Before and After (1736)

Times of the Day (1736)
Marriage a-la-mode (1743)
Industry and Idleness (1747)

Beer Street and Gin Lane (1751)
The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751)
Humours of an Election (1754)
The Invasion, or France and England (1756)
William Hogarth
Times of the Day (1736)
Four Times of the Day is a series of four paintings by English artist William Hogarth. Completed in 1736, they were reproduced as a series of four engravings published in 1738. They are humorous depictions of life in the streets of London, the vagaries of fashion, and the interactions between the rich and poor. Unlike many of Hogarth's other series, such as A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress, Industry and Idleness, and The Four Stages of Cruelty, it does not depict the story of an individual, but instead focuses on the society of the city. Hogarth intended the series to be humorous rather than instructional; the pictures do not offer a judgment on whether the rich or poor are more deserving of the viewer's sympathies: while the upper and middle classes tend to provide the focus for each scene, there are fewer of the moral comparisons seen in some of his other works.
The four pictures depict scenes of daily life in various locations in London as the day progresses. Morning shows a prudish spinster making her way to church in Covent Garden past the revellers of the previous night; Noon shows two cultures on opposite sides of the street in St Giles; Evening depicts a dyer's family returning hot and bothered from a trip to Sadler's Wells; and Night shows disreputable goings-on around a drunken freemason staggering home near Charing Cross.


Four Times of the Day was the first set of prints that Hogarth published after his two great successes, A Harlot's Progress (1732) and A Rake's Progress (1735). It was among the first of his prints to be published after the Engraving Copyright Act 1734 (which Hogarth had helped push through Parliament); A Rake's Progress had taken early advantage of the protection afforded by the new law. Unlike Harlot and Rake, the four prints in Times of the Day do not form a consecutive narrative, and none of the characters appears in more than one scene. Hogarth conceived of the series as "representing in a humorous manner, morning, noon, evening and night".
Hogarth took his inspiration for the series from the classical satires of Horace and Juvenal, via their Augustan counterparts, particularly John Gay's "Trivia" and Jonathan Swift's "A Description of a City Shower" and "A Description of the Morning". He took his artistic models from other series of the "Times of Day", "The Seasons" and "Ages of Man", such as those by Nicolas Poussin and Nicholas Lancret, and from pastoral scenes, but executed them with a twist by transferring them to the city. He also drew on the Flemish "Times of Day" style known as points du jour, in which the gods floated above pastoral scenes of idealised shepherds and shepherdesses, but in Hogarth's works the gods were recast as his central characters: the churchgoing lady, a frosty Aurora in Morning; the pie-girl, a pretty London Venus in Noon; the pregnant woman, a sweaty Diana in Evening; and the freemason, a drunken Pluto in Night.

Hogarth designed the series for an original commission by Jonathan Tyers in 1736 in which he requested a number of paintings to decorate supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens. Hogarth is believed to have suggested to Tyers that the supper boxes at Gardens be decorated with paintings as part of their refurbishment; among the works featured when the renovation was completed was Hogarth's picture of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The originals of Four Times of the Day were sold to other collectors, but the scenes were reproduced at Vauxhall by Francis Hayman, and two of them, Evening and Night, hung at the pleasure gardens until at least 1782.
The engravings are mirror images of the paintings (since the engraved plates are copied from the paintings the image is reversed when printed), which leads to problems ascertaining the times shown on the clocks in some of the scenes. The images are sometimes seen as parodies of middle class life in London at the time, but the moral judgements are not as harsh as in some of Hogarth's other works and the lower classes do not escape ridicule either. Often the theme is one of over-orderliness versus chaos. The four plates depict four times of day, but they also move through the seasons: Morning is set in winter, Noon in spring, and Evening in summer. However, Night—sometimes misidentified as being in September—takes place on Oak Apple Day in May rather than in the autumn.

Evening was engraved by Bernard Baron, a French engraver who was living in London, and, although the designs are Hogarth's it is not known whether he engraved any of the four plates himself. The prints, along with a fifth picture, Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn from 1738, were sold by subscription for one guinea (£147.00 in 2013), half payable on ordering and half on delivery. After subscription the price rose to five shillings per print (£35.00 in 2013), making the five print set four shillings dearer overall. Although Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn was not directly connected to the other prints, it seems that Hogarth always envisaged selling the five prints together, adding the Strolling Actresses as a complementary theme just as he had added Southwark Fair to the subscription for The Rake's Progress. Whereas the characters in Four Times play their roles without being conscious of acting, the company of Strolling Actresses are fully aware of the differences between the reality of their lives and the roles they are set to play. Representations of Aurora and Diana also appear in both.
Hogarth advertised the prints for sale in May 1737, again in January 1738, and finally announced the plates were ready on 26 April 1738. The paintings were sold individually at an auction on 25 January 1745, along with the original paintings for A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress and Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn. Sir William Heathcote purchased Morning and Night for 20 guineas and £20 6s respectively (£ 2,900 and £ 2,800 in 2013), and the Duke of Ancaster bought Noon for £38 17s (£ 5,400 in 2013)) and Evening for £39 18s (£ 5,600 in 2013). A further preliminary sketch for Morning with some differences to the final painting was sold in a later auction for £21 (£ 2,900 in 2013).




Morning (Painting I)

Morning (Plate I)

In Morning, a lady makes her way to church, shielding herself with her fan from the shocking view of two men pawing at the market girls. The scene is the west side of the piazza at Covent Garden, indicated by a part of the Palladian portico of Inigo Jones's Church of St Paul visible behind Tom King's Coffee House, a notorious venue celebrated in pamphlets of the time. Henry Fielding mentions the coffee house in both The Covent Garden Tragedy and Pasquin. At the time Hogarth produced this picture, the coffee house was being run by Tom's widow, Moll King, but its reputation had not diminished. Moll opened the doors once those of the taverns had shut, allowing the revellers to continue enjoying themselves from midnight until dawn. The Mansion House with columned portico visible in the centre of the picture, No. 43 King Street, is attributed to architect Thomas Archer (later 1st Baron Archer) and occupied by him at the date of Hogarth's works. It was situated on the north side of the piazza, while the coffee house was on the south side, as depicted in Hogarth's original painting. In the picture, it is early morning and some revellers are ending their evening: a fight has broken out in the coffee house and, in the melée, a wig flies out of the door. Meanwhile, stallholders set out their fruit and vegetables for the day's market. Two children who should be making their way to school have stopped, entranced by the activity of the market, in a direct reference to Swift's A Description of the Morning in which children "lag with satchels in their hands". Above the clock is Father Time and below it the inscription Sic transit gloria mundi. The smoke rising from the chimney of the coffee house connects these portents to the scene below.
Hogarth replicates all the features of the pastoral scene in an urban landscape. The shepherds and shepherdesses become the beggars and whores, the sun overhead is replaced by the clock on the church, the snow-capped mountains become the snowy rooftops. Even the setting of Covent Garden with piles of fruit and vegetables echoes the country scene. In the centre of the picture the icy goddess of the dawn in the form of the prim churchgoer is followed by her shivering red-nosed pageboy, mirroring Hesperus, the dawn bearer. The woman is the only one who seems unaffected by the cold, suggesting it may be her element. Although outwardly shocked, the dress of the woman, which is too fashionable for a woman of her age and in the painting is shown to be a striking acid yellow, may suggest she has other thoughts on her mind. She is commonly described as a spinster, and considered to be a hypocrite, ostentatiously attending church and carrying a fashionable ermine muff while displaying no charity to her freezing footboy or the half-seen beggar before her. The figure of the spinster is said to be based on a relative of Hogarth, who, recognising herself in the picture, cut him out of her will. Fielding later used the woman as the model for his character of Bridget Allworthy in Tom Jones.

A trail of peculiar footprints shows the path trodden by the woman on her pattens to avoid putting her good shoes in the snow and filth of the street. A small object hangs at her side, interpreted variously as a nutcracker or a pair of scissors in the form of a skeleton or a miniature portrait, hinting, perhaps, at a romantic disappointment. Although clearly a portrait in the painting, the object is indistinct in the prints from the engraving. Other parts of the scene are clearer in the print, however: in the background, a quack is selling his cureall medicine, and while in the painting the advertising board is little more than a transparent outline, in the print, Dr. Rock's name can be discerned inscribed on the board below the royal crest which suggests his medicine is produced by royal appointment. The salesman may be Rock himself. Hogarth's opinion of Rock is made clear in the penultimate plate of A Harlot's Progress where he is seen arguing over treatments with Dr Misaubin while Moll Hackabout dies unattended in the corner.
Hogarth revisited Morning in his bidding ticket, Battle of the Pictures, for the auction of his works, held in 1745. In this, his own paintings are pictured being attacked by ranks of Old Masters; Morning is stabbed by a work featuring St. Francis as Hogarth contrasts the false piety of the prudish spinster with the genuine piety of the Catholic saint.


Noon (Painting II)

Noon (Plate II)

The scene takes place in Hog Lane, part of the slum district of St Giles with the church of St Giles in the Fields in the background. Hogarth would feature St Giles again as the background of Gin Lane and First Stage of Cruelty. The picture shows Huguenots leaving the French Church in what is now Soho. The Huguenot refugees had arrived in the 1680s and established themselves as tradesmen and artisans, particularly in the silk trade; and the French Church was their first place of worship. Hogarth contrasts their fussiness and high fashion with the slovenliness of the group on the other side of the road; the rotting corpse of a cat that has been stoned to death lying in the gutter that divides the street is the only thing the two sides have in common. The older members of the congregation wear traditional dress, while the younger members wear the fashions of the day. The children are dressed up as adults: the boy in the foreground struts around in his finery while the boy with his back to the viewer has his hair in a net, bagged up in the "French" style.

At the far right, a black man fondles the breasts of a woman, distracting her from her work, her pie-dish "tottering like her virtue". Confusion over whether the law permitted slavery in England, and pressure from abolitionists, meant that by the mid-eighteenth century there was a sizeable population of free black Londoners; but the status of this man is not clear. The black man, the girl and bawling boy fill the roles of Mars, Venus and Cupid which would have appeared in the pastoral scenes that Hogarth is aping. In front of the couple, a boy has set down his pie to rest, but the plate has broken, spilling the pie onto the ground where it is being rapidly consumed by an urchin. The boy's features are modelled on those of a child in the foreground of Poussin's first version of the Rape of the Sabine Women (now held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), but the boy crying over his lost pie was apparently sketched by Hogarth after he witnessed the scene one day while he was being shaved.
The composition of the scene juxtaposes the prim and proper Huguenot man and his immaculately dressed wife and son with these three, as they form their own "family group" across the other side of the gutter. The head of John the Baptist on a platter is the advertisement for the pie shop, proclaiming "Good eating". Below this sign are the embracing couple, extending the metaphor of good eating beyond a mere plate of food, and still further down the street girl greedily scoops up the pie, carrying the theme to the foot of the picture. I. R. F. Gordon sees the vertical line of toppling plates from the top window downwards as a symbol of the disorder on this side of the street. The man reduced to a head on the sign, in what is assumed to be the woman's fantasy, is mirrored by the "Good Woman" pictured on the board behind who has only a body, her nagging head removed to create the man's ideal of a "good woman". In the top window of the "Good Woman", a woman throws a plate with a leg of meat into the street as she argues, providing a stark contrast to the "good" woman pictured on the sign below. Ronald Paulson sees the kite hanging from the church as part of a trinity of signs; the kite indicating the purpose of the church, an ascent into heaven, just as the other signs for "Good Eating" and the "Good Woman" indicate the predilections of those on that side of the street; but he also notes it as another nod to the pastoral tradition: here instead of soaring above the fields it hangs impotently on the church wall.
The time is unclear. Allan Cunningham states it is half past eleven, and suggests that Hogarth uses the early hour to highlight the debauchery occurring opposite the church, yet the print shows the hands at a time that could equally be half past twelve, and the painting shows a thin golden hand pointing to ten past twelve.
In this scene more than any of the others Hogarth's sympathies seem to be with the lower classes and more specifically with the English. Although there is disorder on the English side of the street, there is an abundance of "good eating" and the characters are rosy-cheeked and well-nourished. Even the street girl can eat her fill. The pinch-faced Huguenots, on the other hand, have their customs and dress treated as mercilessly as any characters in the series. A national enmity towards the French, even French refugees, may explain why the English are depicted somewhat more flatteringly here than they are by figures in the accompanying scenes. Hogarth mocked continental fashions again in Marriage à-la-mode (1743–1745) and made a more direct attack on the French in The Gate of Calais which he painted immediately upon returning to England in 1748 after he was arrested as a spy while sketching in Calais.


Evening (Painting III)

Evening (Plate III)

Unlike the other three images, Evening takes place slightly outside the built-up area of the city, with views of rolling hills and wide evening skies. The cow being milked in the background indicates it is around 5 o'clock. While in Morning winter cold pervades the scene, Evening is oppressed by the heat of the summer. A pregnant woman and her husband attempt to escape from the claustrophobic city by journeying out to the fashionable Sadler's Wells (the stone entrance to Sadler's Wells Theatre is shown to the left). By the time Hogarth produced this series the theatre had lost any vestiges of fashionability and was satirised as having an audience consisting of tradesmen and their pretentious wives. Ned Ward described the clientele in 1699 as:

Butchers and bailiffs, and such sort of fellows,
mixed with a vermin train'd up for the gallows,
As Bullocks and files, housebreakers and padders,
With prize-fighters, sweetners, and such sort of traders,
Informers, thief-takers, deer stealers, and bullies.

The husband, whose stained hands reveal he is a dyer by trade, looks harried as he carries his exhausted youngest daughter. In earlier impressions (and the painting), his hands are blue, to show his occupation, while his wife's face is coloured with red ink. The placement of the cow's horns behind his head represents him as a cuckold and suggests the children are not his. Behind the couple, their children replay the scene: the father's cane protrudes between the son's legs, doubling as a hobby horse, while the daughter is clearly in charge, demanding that he hand over his gingerbread. A limited number of proofs missing the girl and artist's signature were printed; Hogarth added the mocking girl to explain the boy's tears.
The heat is made tangible by the flustered appearance of the woman as she fans herself (the fan itself displays a classical scene—perhaps Venus, Adonis and Cupid); the sluggish pregnant dog that looks longingly towards the water; and the vigorous vine growing on the side of the tavern. As is often the case in Hogarth's work, the dog's expression reflects that of its master. The family rush home, past the New River and a tavern with a sign showing Sir Hugh Myddleton, who bankrupted himself financing the construction of the river to bring running water into London in 1613 (a wooden pipe lies by the side of the watercourse). Through the open window other refugees from the city can be seen sheltering from the oppressive heat in the bar. While they appear more jolly than the dyer and his family, Hogarth pokes fun at these people escaping to the country for fresh air only to reproduce the smoky air and crowded conditions of the city by huddling in the busy tavern with their pipes.


Night (Painting IV)

Night (Plate IV)

The final picture in the series, Night, shows disorderly activities under cover of night in the Charing Cross Road, identified by Hubert Le Sueur's equestrian statue of Charles I of England and the two pubs; this part of the road is now known as Whitehall. In the background the passing cartload of furniture suggests tenants escaping from their landlord in a "moonlight flit". In the painting the moon is full, but in the print it appears as a crescent.
The night is 29 May, Oak Apple Day, a public holiday which celebrated the Restoration of the monarchy, demonstrated by the oak boughs above the barber's sign and on some of the subjects' hats, which recall the royal oak tree in which Charles II hid after losing the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
Charing Cross was a central staging post for coaches, but the congested narrow road was a frequent scene of accidents; here, a bonfire has caused the Salisbury Flying Coach to overturn. Festive bonfires were usual but risky: a house fire lights the sky in the distance. A link-boy blows on the flame of his torch, street-urchins are playing with the fire, and one of their fireworks is falling in at the coach window.
On one side of the road is a barber surgeon whose sign advertises Shaving, bleeding, and teeth drawn with a touch. Ecce signum! Inside the shop, the barber, who may be drunk, haphazardly shaves a customer, holding his nose like that of a pig, while spots of blood darken the cloth under his chin. The surgeons and barbers had been a single profession since 1540 and would not finally separate until 1745, when the surgeons broke away to form the Company of Surgeons. Bowls on the windowsill contain blood from the day's patients.
Underneath the windowshelf, a homeless family have made a bed for themselves.
In the foreground, a drunken freemason, identified by his apron and set square medallion as the Worshipful Master of a lodge, is being helped home by his Tyler, as the contents of a chamber pot are emptied onto his head from a window. In some of the prints, a woman standing back from the window looks down on him, suggesting that his soaking is not accidental. The freemason is traditionally identified as Sir Thomas de Veil, who was a member of Hogarth's first Lodge, Henry Fielding's predecessor as the Bow Street magistrate, and the model for Fielding's character Justice Squeezum in The Coffee-House Politician (1730). He was unpopular for his stiff sentencing of gin-sellers, which was deemed to be hypocritical as he was known to be an enthusiastic drinker. He is supported by his Tyler, a servant equipped with sword and candle-snuffer, who may be Brother Montgomerie, the Grand Tyler.
All around are pubs and brothels. The Earl of Cardigan tavern is on one side of the street, and opposite is the Rummer, whose sign shows a rummer (a short wide-brimmed glass) with a bunch of grapes on the pole. Masonic lodges met in both taverns during the 1730s, and the Lodge at the Rummer and Grapes in nearby Channel Row was the smartest of the four founders of the Grand Lodge. The publican is adulterating a hogshead of wine, a practice recalled in the poetry of Matthew Prior who lived with his uncle Samuel Prior, the Landlord successively of both the Rummer and Grapes and the Rummer";.

"My uncle, rest his soul, when living,
Might have contriv'd me ways of thriving;
Taught me with cider to replenish
My vats, or ebbing tide of Rhenish."

On either side of the street are signs for The Bagnio and The New Bagnio. Ostensibly a Turkish bath, bagnio had come to mean a disorderly house,.
The 6th Earl of Salisbury scandalised society by driving and upsetting a stagecoach. John Ireland suggests that the overturned "Salisbury Flying Coach" below the "Earl of Cardigan" sign was a gentle mockery of the Grand Master 4th Earl of Cardigan, George Brudenell, later Duke of Montagu, who was also renowned for his reckless carriage driving,; and it also mirrors the ending of Gay's "Trivia" in which the coach is overturned and wrecked at night.


Four Times of the Day was the first series of prints that Hogarth had issued since the success of the Harlot and Rake (and would be the only set he would issue until Marriage à-la-mode in 1745), so it was eagerly anticipated. On hearing of its imminent issue, George Faulkner wrote from Dublin that he would take 50 sets. The series lacks the moral lessons that are found in the earlier series and revisited in Marriage à-la-mode, and its lack of teeth meant it failed to achieve the same success, though it has found an enduring niche as a snapshot of the society of Hogarth's time. At the auction of 1745, the paintings of Four Times of the Day raised more than those of the Rake; and Night, which is generally regarded as the worst of the series, fetched the highest single total. Cunningham commented sarcastically: "Such was the reward then, to which the patrons of genius thought these works entitled". While Horace Walpole praised the accompanying print, Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn, as being the finest of Hogarth's works, he had little to say of Four Times of the Day other than that it did not find itself wanting in comparison with Hogarth's other works.
Morning and Night are now in the National Trust Bearsted Collection at Upton House, in Warwickshire. The collection was assembled by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted and gifted to the Trust, along with the house, in 1948. Noon and Evening remain in the Ancaster Collection at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire.

Marriage a-la-mode (1743)
Marriage à-la-mode is a series of six pictures painted by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745 depicting a pointed skewering of upper class 18th century society. This moralistic warning shows the disastrous results of an ill-considered marriage for money and satirises patronage and aesthetics. This is regarded by many as his finest project, certainly the best example of his serially-planned story cycles.[citation needed] The pictures are exhibited in the National Gallery, London.
This series of paintings was not received as well as his other moral tales, A Harlot's Progress (1732) and A Rake's Progress (1735), and when they were finally sold in 1751, it would be for a much lower sum than the artist had hoped for.

General commentary

In Marriage à-la-mode, Hogarth challenges the ideal view that the rich live virtuous lives with a heavy satire on the notion of arranged marriages. In each piece, he shows the young couple and their family and acquaintances at their worst: engaging in affairs, drinking, gambling, and numerous other vices.

The Marriage Settlement

In the first of the series, The Marriage Settlement, he shows an arranged marriage between the son of bankrupt Earl Squanderfield and the daughter of a wealthy but miserly city merchant. Construction on the Earl's new mansion, visible through the window, have stopped and a usurer negotiates payment for further construction at the center table. The Earl proudly points to a picture of his family tree. The son views himself in the mirror, showing where his interests in the matter lie. The distraught merchant's daughter is consoled by the lawyer Silvertongue while polishing her wedding ring. Even the faces on the walls appear to have misgivings. Two dogs chained to each other in the corner mirror the situation of the young couple.

The Tête à Tête

In the second, The Tête à Tête, 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 pulls a lady's cap from 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.

The Inspection

The third in the series, The Inspection, shows the Viscount visiting a quack with a young prostitute. 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.

The Toilette

In the fourth, The Toilette, the old Earl has died and the son is now the new Earl and his wife, the Countess. As was the very height of fashion at the time, the Countess is holding a "Toilette", or reception, in her bedroom. The lawyer Silvertongue from the first painting is reclining next to the Countess, suggesting the existence of an affair. This point is furthered 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 Bagnio

In the fifth painting, The Bagnio, the new Earl has caught his wife in a bagnio with her lover, the lawyer, and is fatally wounded. As she begs forgiveness from the stricken man, the murderer in his nightshirt makes a hasty exit through the window. A picture of a woman with a squirrel on her hand hanging behind the countess contains lewd undertones. Masks on the floor indicate that the couple have been at a masquerade.

The Lady's Death

Finally, in the sixth painting, The Lady's Death, 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 her 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.
These pictures were at first poorly received by the public, to the great disappointment of the artist. He sold them to a Mr. Lane of Hillington for one hundred and twenty guineas. The frames alone had cost Hogarth four guineas each, so his initial remuneration for painting this valuable series was only sixteen shillings over a hundred pounds. From Mr. Lane's estate, they became the property of his nephew, Colonel Cawthorn. In the year 1797 they were sold by auction at Christie's, Pall Mall, for the sum of one thousand guineas; the purchaser was John Julius Angerstein. They are now owned by the British government and part of the collection of the National Gallery.
It had been Hogarth's intention to follow the Marriage à-la-mode series with a companion series called The Happy Marriage, however, this series was never completed and only exists as a series of unfinished sketches. Hogarth's loss of interest was probably because a conventional and happy marriage gave little opportunity for barbed and ironic treatment of events.

Technical commentary

Although this series of paintings are works of art in their own right, their original purpose was to provide the subjects for the series of engraved copper plate prints. By the nature of the process, when engraving copper plates, the image engraved on the plate by the engraver is reversed, that is to say, a mirror image of the final print. Normally, when undertaking paintings that are to be engraved, the painting is produced the "right way round" — not reversed – and then the engraver views it in a mirror as he undertakes the engraving. Hogarth was an engraver himself and disliked this course of action using mirrors, so unusually, he produced the paintings for Marriage à-la-mode already reversed so the engraver could directly copy them.
It would normally be expected to view the series of prints moving from left to right and Hogarth would have taken this into account when composing the original paintings.

Industry and Idleness (1747)
Industry and Idleness is the title of a series of 12 plot-linked engravings created by William Hogarth in 1747, intending to illustrate to working children the possible rewards of hard work and diligent application and the sure disasters attending a lack of both. Unlike his earlier works, such as A Harlot's Progress (1731) and Marriage à-la-mode (1743), which were painted first and subsequently converted to engravings, Industry and Idleness was created solely as a set of engravings. Each of the prints was sold for 1 shilling each so 12 for the entire set, which is equivalent in purchasing power to approximately 80 GBP as of 2005. It may be assumed that these prints were aimed for a wider and less wealthy market than his earlier works. The originals currently reside at the British Museum.


Hogarth was far from the first to attempt to dramatically display parallel lives leading from the same start to opposite ends. Paulson suggests two: the plays "Eastward Hoe" (Revived after Hogarth's publication of these) and "The London Merchant", the latter containing the especially applicable quote that "business [is] the youth's best preservative from ill, as idleness [is] the worst of snares". He also suggests that Hogarth already had the idea when he painted "Hudibras and the Lawyer" with its 2 (industrious and idle) clerks.


Each print shows a representative or important scene at some point in the life of one of the protagonists (In two plates, both are shown together). Together, the seven appearances of Francis Goodchild and Thomas Idle show their steady paths up the social and political ladder to the pinnacle of power and esteem and down the path of immorality and crime to complete disgrace and legal infamy, respectively. Each appearance is also accompanied by some explainitary or foreshadowing text from the Bible.

The engravings

The plates show one of the two apprentices at some stage in their life, alternating between one 'prentice and the other (Industrious, Idle, Industrious, etc.) with the exceptions of 1 and 9 where both are shown. Each has a Biblical quotation relevant to the scene.

Plate 1 – The Fellow 'Prentices at their Looms

Exactly equal footing at their first meeting. Tom is on the left, Francis on the right and the master weaver on the extreme right

In plate 1 the two protagonists are introduced: both are "'prentices" on equal terms with their master, and doing the same work.
Beyond this framework, the two characters rigorously follow their respective traits: Francis is busy at work with his loom and shuttle, with his copy of "The Prentice's Guide" at his feet and various wholesome[6] literature tacked up on the wall behind him such as "The London Prentice" and (portentously) "Whitington Ld Mayor".
Tom Idle leans snoring against his still loom, probably as a result of a huge mug labelled "Spittle Fields" sitting on his loom. A clay pipe is wedged into the handle and a cat is busy fooling with the shuttle. Tacked to the post he's sleeping against is "Moll Flanders"; his "Prentice's Guide" is also lying on the ground, but in a completely filthy and shredded state.
To the right, their master looks disappointedly at Thomas, with a thick stick in his left hand.
Their future courses are marked off for them by the imagery surrounding the frame of the painting: To the left, representing Idle's future, a whip, fetters and a rope; to the right, over Goodchild, a ceremonial mace, sword of state and golden chain. The master's sword segues exactly into the shaft of the mace: more foreshadowing for the second encounter of the two in plate 9.
Idle's verse:

“ Proverbs Chap: 23 Ve: 21
The Drunkard shall come to
Poverty, & drowsineſs shall
cloath a Man wth rags ”
“ Proverbs Ch:10 Ver:4
The hand of the diligent
maketh rich ”

Plate 2 — The Industrious 'Prentice performing the Duty of a Christian

Goodchild in church, singing hymns

Plate two occurs at some point on a Sunday, when their master has given them part (or all) of the day to attend church service. Francis Goodchild is shown taking good advantage of this, attending St. Martin-in-the-Fields, standing in a pew with his master's daughter, singing out of a hymnal. Their piety is contrasted with the sleeping man in the pew and the vain woman at the far right, and complements the quiet devotion of the old pew opener, the woman who has the keys to the pew, who is facing away from the service to spot new arrivals.
Significantly, since this is the first in the series of images of Francis' fortune, his career is literally shown to start with his devotion.
Note the tricorns hanging everywhere.
“ Psalm CXIX Ver:97
O! How I love thy Law it is my
meditation all day ”

Plate 3 — The Idle 'Prentice at Play in the Church Yard, during Divine Service

Not outside the same church

In this case, Tom Idle is shown doing the exact opposite: gambling and cheating with some pence on top of a tomb in the churchyard. The foreground is strewn with spare bones and skulls, and behind him a beadle is about to whack him with a cane or something similar for his insolence and tardyness.
Also note that the frame is reversed: Now the mace, etc. are on the left of the engraving.
“ Proverbs CH:XIX. Ve:29.
Judgments are prepared for scorners
& stripes for the back of Fools ”

Plate 4 — The Industrious 'Prentice a Favourite, and entrusted by his Master

Francis finds people clearly appreciative of his steady-going ways

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 CHAP: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 ”

Plate 5 — The Idle 'Prentice turn'd away, and sent to Sea

Tom finally exhausts everyone's patience – except his mother's

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 ”

Plate 6 — The Industrious 'Prentice out of his Time, & Married to his Master's Daughter

Mr. and Mrs. Goodchild

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. ”

Plate 7 — The Idle 'Prentice return'd from Sea, & in a Garret with common Prostitute

Not fighting the Law, but scared of it!

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".
In contrast to the luxury of Francis in plate 8, 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. ”

Plate 8 — The Industrious 'Prentice grown rich, & Sheriff of London

Only incidentally about the 'prentice

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 right 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 worſhipl 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 ”

Plate 9 — The Idle 'Prentice betrayed (by his Whore), & taken in a Night-Cellar with his Accomplice


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. In the process, 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 right 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 Adultereſs will hunt for
the precious life ”

Note that in some versions the title is "The Idle 'Prentice betrayed by his Whore, & taken in a Night-Cellar with his Accomplice", whereas others remove "by his Whore".

Plate 10 – The Industrious 'Prentice Alderman of London, the Idle one brought before him & Impeach'd by his Accomplice

Ending on unequal footing

Having led their separate lives for four plates each, the two apprentices meet again, considerably further down their paths of life. Again, Tom is on the left, Francis, the right (Interestingly, the frame is reversed, so the rope, etc. is above Francis).
Idle is now completely lost: his accomplice readily turns King's evidence, a man behind him holds up the two pistols and sword used in the commission of the murder in one hand and points to Idle with the other, and he's being arraigned before his former fellow-apprentice, who remembers his earlier inclinations and could well imagine him turning footpad. While he turns away, either struggling with his feelings (as implied by the quote at the bottom of the frame) or disgustedly spurning his entreaties, the clerk next to him writes out the warrant of admission "To the Turnkey of Newgate".
To the right of Idle, his mother again tearfully pleads with an officer who dismisses her. The bailiff administering the oath has put his quill pen behind his ear facing forward, making him look ridiculous, so that he might take a bribe from the woman next to him, who is paying him to not notice that the oath he's administering is being sworn with the wrong hand and hence worthless.
Fire buckets labelled "SA" hang from the balcony behind the crowd.
“ Pſalm IX. Ver:16.
The Wicked is snar'd in the
work of his own hands ”
“ Leviticus CH:XIX Ve:15.
Thou shall do no unrighteous-
-neſs in Judgement ”

Plate 11 — The Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn

Idleness and immorality produce their just reward.

Idle now comes, like Tom Nero in The Four Stages of Cruelty, to the reward of his depredations and malice: a felon's death on the gallows.
The procession from left to right shows a detachment of British soldiers marching behind the tumbrel containing a preacher with a book labelled Wesley, a reference to Methodism, vigorously discoursing to the now hairless Thomas Idle, who is leaning on his own coffin (Shown by his initials "T.I.").[original research?] In the coach ahead of them the Official clergyman (Who will actually preside at the execution) and beyond him, the Tyburn Tree. His executioner lays unconcernedly along one of the crossbeams, smoking his pipe and totally inured to the nature of his work.
In the right background, more or less well behaved spectators wait. One releases a bird that will fly back to Newgate and give the news that (by the time it's arrived) the malefactor is dead.
Around and in the midst of the semi-orderly procession, chaos reigns.
In the front center, a woman with a baby is advertising "The last dying Speech & Conſeſsion of—Tho. Idle.", a most brazen fraud, considering that he hasn't even gotten to the gallows yet and everyone who can hear here can clearly see as much! To the left, a brawl involves two to four people. To her left, a drunken sot attempts to court her with ridiculous airs, notwithstanding his holding a dog up by the tail. The suspended dog, positioned directly below the gibbet in the picture, prefigures another "cur" who is about to be hanged. Behind them a massive riot goes on while a woman assaults the man pushing over her cart of fruit. A man to the far right peddles something. In one corner are two boys, one pickpocketing and the other resisting temptation, possibly echoing Idle and Goodchild.
The frame of the picture shows Thomas' ultimate fate, hung on a gibbet for his highway collecting or anatomised, for his murder.
Finally, the verse at the bottom completes his utter doom.
“ Proverbs CHAP I. Verſ:s 27, 28.
When fear cometh as desolation, and their
destruction cometh as a Whirlwind; when
distreſs cometh upon them, they shall
call upon God, but he will not answer ”

Plate 12 – The Industrious 'Prentice Lord-Mayor of London

Fulfilling the constant foreshadowing

Now that the Idle 'Prentice met his reward, industry gets its turn: The industry and morality of Francis Goodchild result in his being chosen the Lord Mayor of the City.
He is here shown riding in the Lord Mayor's carriage, holding the sword of state and looking completely ridiculous in his top hat. From the balcony on the right, a genteel crowd observes his passing, as to people in all the windows fronting on the street.
Meanwhile, as usual, the crowd drunkenly near-riots around him. In the far lower right, a boy holding "A full and true Account of ye Ghoſt of Tho Idle. Which [...]" shows the final fate of Thomas Idle's memory: an entry in The Newgate Calendar.
The frame is now surrounded by cornucopias, referring to the verse at the bottom:
“ Proverbs CHAP: III. Ver:16.
Length of days is in her right hand, and
in her left hand Riches and Honour ”

Unfinished parts

Hogarth sketched out at least three other scenes that never got made into engravings: one of the inside of Goodchild's place after his marriage (Presumably to go after or instead of 6) and a set of him giving money to his parents while Idle swipes a tankard of his mother's (Meant to follow 7).