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The Contract: Marriage à la Mode, Plate 1

After William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)

A marriage is being arranged by parents for their mutual benefit and not their children’s. Lord Squanderfield, whose name appears on the “Marriage Settlement,” offers his son, who brings to the marriage a title and a noble family heritage. The wealthy merchant presents thousands of pounds in bank notes as his daughter’s contribution, which the Viscount needs to restart his stalled building project seen through the window. The intendeds show no interest in each other—the daughter is hanging on the words of a lawyer, who we later learn is named Silvertongue, while the son admires himself in the mirror.

William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1930.

Object Information

After William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)
creation date
ink on paper, etching and engraving
13-3/4 x 17-1/2 in. (image)
17-1/8 x 21-1/8 in. (sheet)
mark descriptions
Inscribed: Engraved by G. Scotin--Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth According to Act of Parliament April 1st, 1745
Marriage à la Mode
accession number
credit line
Gift of William George Sullivan
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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