Rakes Progress (Set of 8)

Plate 1: The Jacobean interior of the house of Tom Rakewell’s late father (after the painting at Sir John Soane’s Museum) with Tom being measured for a suit as he gives a handful of coins to the pregnant Sarah Young; … Read Full Description

$A 3,250

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S/N: HOGA-028–230791
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Full Title:

Rakes Progress (Set of 8)




In good condition


Copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 350mm

Paper Size: 

x 480mm
Rakes Progress (Set of 8) - Antique Print from 1822

Genuine antique



Plate 1: The Jacobean interior of the house of Tom Rakewell’s late father (after the painting at Sir John Soane’s Museum) with Tom being measured for a suit as he gives a handful of coins to the pregnant Sarah Young; behind him sits a lawyer compiling inventories; on the floor are boxes of miscellaneous goods, piles of mortgages, indentures, bond certificates and other documents; an old woman brings faggots to light a fire and an upholsterer attaching fabric (purchased from William Tothall of Covent Garden) to the wall reveals a hiding place for coins which tumble out.

Plate 2: In this second plate Tom is in his new palatial lodgings where he is holding a morning levée in the manner of a fashionable gentleman. Amongst the assorted visitors who have come to offer their services is a jockey, a dancing-master, a music teacher, a landscape gardener, a poet and a tailor. On the wall behind hang some of Tom’s recent acquisitions three Italian paintings.

Plate 3: This scene is set in the notorious Rose Tavern, a brothel-cum-tavern in Covent Garden and finds Tom drunk. Near the doorway on the left, a street singer performs a bawdy song. Standing to her left is a waiter who holds a polished salver to put on the table for the stripper, seen removing her clothes in the foreground, who will spin and pose upon it.

Plate 4: Having squandered his fortune and Tom narrowly escapes arrest for debt on the way to a party at St James’s Palace. Tom is saved by Sarah Young, now a milliner, who pays his bail money with her meagre earnings.

Plate 5: Having lost his fortune, Tom decides to marry an old hag for her fortune. The scene is in Marylebone Old Church, north of Hyde Park, which was renowned for clandestine weddings. Tom is clearly more interested in the pretty young maid then his one-eyed bride. In the background Sarah Young and her mother are being prevented from entering the church.

Plate 6: Tom, wigless and cursing his fate, has gambled away his second fortune. The setting is White’s Club in Soho. Tom kneels on the floor, distraught. Like the majority of the people in the room, he is too obsessed with gambling to notice or care that the building is on fire. He looks angrily towards heaven with his arms extended and his fists clenched, railing against God or fate.

Plate 7: Tom is now in prisoner of the Fleet, London’s celebrated debtors’ prison. Beside him lies the rejected script of a play he has written in the hope of securing his freedom. Tom, exhibiting the first signs of impending madness, has sunk into despair. The beer-boy harasses him for payment whilst the gaoler demands the settlement of his weekly bill. His wife scolds him for having squandered her fortune. Sarah Young, who is visiting with her child, has fainted from distress at the scene

Plate 8: In the final scene Tom has descended into madness and is now in Bethlem Hospital or Bedlam as it was known. He is surrounded by other inmates who are suffering various delusions. Like the real Bedlam, Hogarth’s Madhouse is open to the public. Two fashionable ladies have come to observe the poor suffering lunatics as one of the sights of the city. The ever-faithful Sarah Young sits, weeping, by Tom’s side.

William Hogarth (1697 - 1794)

Hogarth was born in London, the son of an unsuccessful schoolmaster and writer from Westmoreland. After apprenticeship to a goldsmith, he began to produce his own engraved designs from 1710. He later took up oil painting, starting with small portrait groups called conversation pieces. He went on to create a series of paintings satirising contemporary customs, but based on earlier Italian prints, of which the first was ‘The Harlot’s Progress’ (1731), and perhaps the most famous ‘The Rake’s Progress’. His engravings were so plagiarised that he lobbied for the Copyright Act of 1735 as protection for writers and artists.

View other items by William Hogarth

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