Art À La Mode

 
 

Marriage a la Mode, Plate VI 

 

Title  Marriage à la Mode, 
Plate VI, Death of the Countess 
Artist  William Hogarth 
Date  1745 (reprinted 1822) 
Medium  Etching and engraving 
Location  The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University 

The Viscount dead, his wife has taken a fatal dose of poison and collapsed in the company of her syphillitic child and her father, who removes her wedding ring before rigor mortis sets in. Dutch genre paintings on the walls of this modest interior exemplify the type of art collected by eighteenth-century British middling classes, which Hogarth considered unrefined in taste. 

Works of art featured in previous scenes function as parallel narratives, commenting upon the characters and their actions. However, on the walls of this final, pathetic scene, smokers preoccupy themselves with conversation while a peasant turns his back on the scene to relieve himself.

Colour prints of Marriage à la Mode are on display in the exhibition space. The prints were made by Thomas Cook after William Hogarth from 1796 to 1797 and are on loan from the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.

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