Signed By: William Hogarth In Plate
Condition: Very Good With Full Margins & Framed
Medium: Etching On Paper
One of the best known Hogarth series, eight plates follow the fortunes of a young man from the day he receives his inheritance to his eventual incarceration in Bedlam.
Defining universal characteristics in a manner which amuses and horrifies but never fails to convey a message.
The hero is measured for his fathers mourning by a humble, country tailor while trying to buy his way out of a betrothal entered upon when his prospects were less bright. All around are signs of miserliness and it is not to be wondered at that his newfound wealth turns the young mans head.
The hero is shown as the young Rake, surrounded by poets, milliners, jockeys, French tailors and the whole retinue of a fashionable young man. Many of the figures are portraits of well known characters of the period, including Bridgeman, a garden designer, Figg, the Prizefighter and Dubois a master of Defence, who was later killed in a Duel.
The young man, accompanied by his friends to a brothel, sinks deeper into depravity as he waits the forthcoming entertainment by the Posture woman who is shown undressing preparatory to performing her somewhat indelicate dances and other activities.
Here the young man is dressed to pay his compliments at court, being accosted by a Bailiff. The young woman who he scorned to marry in the first plate is in the process of persuading the Bailiff to release him.
His fortune squandered, our hero is compelled to marry a woman whose only attraction can be her wealth.
Commenting on the condition of the church at Marylebone. Suggestive of the unnatural union taking place, Hogarth has introduced his dog, Trump, paying his respects to a sick looking, one eyed female of the same species, while at the door of the church, we see again the heros spurned love being refused admission.
Determined to free himself from the distasteful marriage he has been forced into the Rake tries, and fails, to win back his lost fortune at cards.
Thrown into Debtors prison, the Rake is followed even here by his faithful young woman, shown fainting.
The final scene shows the Rake in the madhouse, Bedlam, again accompanied and succoured by the young woman he has spurned for so long.