The Topography of Decay

Beer Street
Title Beer Street
Artist William Hogarth
Date 1751 (reprinted c. 1822)
Medium Etching and engraving
Location The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University

Beer Street and its companion print, Gin Lane, map the city's potential topographies of prosperity and decay by associating specific urban scenes with these two beverages. The drinking of beer results in the construction of buildings, well-fed citizens, and a flourishing economy. Only the pawnbroker's business is in a state of disrepair.

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