Marriage à la Mode, a series of six etchings by English engraver and painter William Hogarth, was printed as social commentary for the 18th-century audience comparable to our modern dramas. In this series Hogarth focuses on the misery of an arranged marriage between the daughter of an upper-class merchant family and the son of a destitute noble family attempting to maintain their wealthy status. 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 second image of the series takes place in the opulent yet disorganized home of the newlyweds. Based on the title, Early in the Morning, as well as the couple’s actions and the state of their clothing, the scene takes place after a night out. On the far right, the groom, Viscount Squanderfield, lounges in a chair while a small dog pulls a bonnet from his coat pocket. To his left his wife stretches and yawns with fatigue. As she is already wearing a bonnet, the dog’s findings allude to a possible infidelity.
Printed by Bernard Baron