'Marriage A-la-Mode' was the first of Hogarth's satirical moralising series of engravings about the upper echelons of society. The paintings were models from which the engravings would be made. The engravings reverse the compositions.
This episode takes place in a bagnio, originally a word used to describe coffee houses which offered Turkish baths, but by 1740 it signified a place where rooms could be provided for the night with no questions asked. The Countess and the lawyer have retired there after the masquerade. The young Earl has followed them and is dying from a wound inflicted by Silvertongue, who escapes through the window, while the Countess pleads forgiveness.
The noise of the fight has awakened the master of the house who appears through the door to the right with the Watch. On the rear wall is a tapestry of the 'Judgement of Solomon', and a painting of a courtesan is over the door.
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Marriage A-la-Mode: 5, The Bagnio Print
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13 January 2011
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