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William Hogarth, Marriage-A-La-Mode, Plate II, first published state print 1745, unframed

Stock Code: 93786-201810211608


This is a very rare second state of this print. The first existing state is before title publication details and text in print, and therefore clearly pre-publication. This second state is possibly also pre-publication. It is distinguishable by the absence of a lock of hair on the wife's forehead, which in some copies is added in ink, in some not added. Here the lock appears to be added in pencil or wash. The third known state had the lock engraved, and the fourth and fifth states have further additions of shadows etc.

Marriage A-La-Mode was a grand scheme devised by Hogarth, which commenced with his paintings of the six scenes, representing "a Variety of Modern Occurrences in High-Life". The painting are now in the National Gallery in London. They were complete in 1743, and as early as that Hogarth was advertising the prints, to be engraved by the best masters in Paris. Although Hogarth was himself an engraver, he travelled to Paris in May 1743, partly to secure the services of the French engravers, including Bernard Baron. The initial price for the prints was one Guinea each, a substantial price, and no cheap prints were produced. The paper used was stout French laid paper (as used in this copy - no watermark).

The print shows the marriage between the Viscount and his plebeian wife already beginning to unravel, both master and mistress engaged in their own debauchery, and their steward despairing with a hug bunch of bills in his hand. The clock shows that it is 1.20 am. For more details on the states of the prints, the background and the subject matter, see Paulson, Hogarth's Graphic Works, pages 114-118 (Paulson 159).

Condition of this print is overall good, suitable for framing: on thick laid paper which is a bit softened with handling, trimmed to the image, short edge tears and wear, one longer approx 2 inch tear at the top edge repaired on the back with Japanese paper, light soiling but no staining or significant age toning - the good quality paper has helped with that.

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