>   Marriage à la Mode Plate 4 (The Countess's Levee)
Marriage à la Mode Plate 4 (The Countess's Levee)
17.44'' x 21.06''
Engraving with etching

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 narrative in this print conveys another infidelity—that of Squanderfield’s wife. She is portrayed in her lavish private sitting area offering her undivided attention to one among a number of guests—a gentleman from The Marriage Contract print, Councilor Silvertongue.

Printed by Simon François Ravenet