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>   Marriage à la Mode Plate 5 (The Death of the Earl)
Marriage à la Mode Plate 5 (The Death of the Earl)
17.5'' x 21.5''
Engraving with etching
1745

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.

In etching five of Hogarth’s series, the husband, Viscount Squanderfield, discovers his wife’s affair with Silvertongue. In a fit of rage Squanderfield challenges Silvertongue to a sword fight in which he is ultimately killed. As his wife clings to her husband begging for his forgiveness, Silvertongue flees the scene through an open window.

Printed by Simon François Ravenet