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"Where titles deign with cits to have and hold! And change rich blood for more substantial gold!! And honoured trade from interest turns aside,! to hazard happiness for titled pride."22 Hogarth's Marriage A-La-Mode was a series of six prints published The Tatler no.185 (15 June 1709), in The Tatler (1709-1710), ed. D.F. Bond, 3 Vols.
(Oxford, 1987), III, p.8; The Spectator no.149 (21 August 1711), in The Spectator (1711-1712, 1714), ed. D.F. Bond, 5 Vols. (Oxford, 1965), II, p.87 • 20 R. Steele, 'The Conscious Lovers, a Comedy' (1722), in The Dramatick Works of the Late Sir Richard Steele (London, 1732), pp.I-76 21 D. Garrick and G. Colman, 'The Clandestine Marriage, a Comedy' (1766), in H.W. Pedicord The Plays of David Garrick Vol. I: Garrick's Own Plays 1740-1766 and F.L. Bergman, eds., (Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1980), pp.263, 275, 276 Garrick and Colman, 'The Clandestine Marriage', p.256 in 1745 after the artist's paintings (The National Gallery, London).23 The first scene (fig. 12) depicts a marriage contract being drawn up between an Alderman and an Earl with the assistance of two lawyers. It is clearly an arranged marriage of the type so debated by historians, trading the fortune of the one for the title of the other. Earl Squanderfield points down to his family tree, springing from the belly of William the Conqueror, and coronets adorn almost every available sutface in the room. Even the two dogs, chained together to symbolise the forced nature of this union, have coronets imprinted on their haunches.24 The representation of the Earl fulfils many aristocratic stereotypes. The gout with which his foot is diseased was, according to Nicolas Venette, caused by "the caressing of women," reinforcing preconceptions of upperclass licentiousness. 25 The merchant's money is symbolised by the redeemed mortgage of the Earl, the promissory notes and the gold proffered to the nobleman by one of the lawyers.
The couple whom this contract most involves are significantly to one side of the picture, neither interacting with the events taking place in the central space, nor 23 For detailed discussions of the series, see RL.S. Cowley, Marriage A-La-Mode: A Re-View of Hogarth's Narrative Art (Manchester, 1983); L. Bertelsen, 'The Interior Structures of Hogarth's 'Marriage A-La-Mode", Art History 6,2 (June 1983), pp.131-142; R Paulson, Hogarth's Graphic Works 2 Vols. (New Haven and London, 1965), I, pp.268-75; R Paulson, Hogarth, 3 Vols. (New Brunswick and London, 1991-2), II, chapter 9. Other satirists joined in this condemnation. In 1784, Carrington Bowles published The First Interview; or, Happiness Sacrifised to Riches (The British Museum, London) by Robert Dighton in which two fathers again attempt to unite their offspring in the name of financial profit. The young lady clearly rejects her proposed suitor, averting her face and moving her hands protectively between them. In the same way that conduct writers persisted in their diatribes throughout the century, so too did satirists.
As suggested by Michael Rosenthal, this emblem is probably derived from Paolo Veronese's The Marriage at Cana (1563, The Louvre) 25 N. Venette, Conjugal Love; or, The Pleasures of the Marriage Bed Considered in Several Lectures on Human Generation (1703, first Dutch edition 1687) (London, 20th edition, 1750), p.146 with each other. The Earl's son is more engrossed in the contents of his snuffbox and his reflection in the mirror, whilst his intended plays idly with her wedding ring and listens to the flirtations of Lawyer Silvertongue. The succeeding narrative of adultery is thus set in motion in the first plate and the entire series is structured around the consequential display of cause and effect, highlighted by the temporal progression of the images. The unhappiness of the marriage, the diseased and crippled nature of the child who is the only eventual reminder of the union and the adultery of the couple, leading ultimately to both their deaths, are all caused by this initial contract. The inexorable nature of the story was emphasised in a poem published some time after the series, providing an explanation of the prints. The first canto, the literary equivalent to the first plate, concludes: ''This is the Prelude of a Life,1 To Marriage doom'd, replete with Strife;1 And what the Consequence will be,1 You'll in the foll'wing Canto's see." The author proceeds to outline the events in great detail, until Canto VI which declares: "Such is the Fate false love succeeds,! And such the ills forc'd Marriage breeds. "26 The structural parallels between Hogarth's series and this poem, together with the connection between Garrick and Colman's denunciation of arranged marriages and the artist's pictorial equivalent, demonstrates the necessity of viewing Marriage A-LaMode in a wide discursive and ideological context. The ill effects it depicts serve to reinforce the varied but uniformly negative consequences of the mercantile marriage as cited by conduct book writers such as Fleetwood and Gisborne. This consequential pattern, by which Hogarth positions himself as part of a discursive trend, underscores his clearly moralising intent, on a par with the emendatory objectives of these authors.
Marriage A-La-Mode: An Humorous Tale in Six Canto's, in Hudibrastic Verse; being an Explanation o/the Six Prints lately Published by the lngenous Mr. Hogarth (London, 1746), pp.9, 10 Horace Walpole claimed of the artist in his Anecdotes of Painting; "(he) observes the true end of comedy, reformation; there is always a moral to his pictures" and, indeed, Hogarth himself wrote; "subject(s) of most consequence are those that most entertain and Improve the mind and are of public utility... "27 The nature of Hogarth's satire as one component of a wider prescriptive trend can be perceived in other elements of the series. The artist often evokes the absent other, recalling the dichotomous nature of advice literature in which the loveless, mercantile union is presented as diametrically opposed to the affectionate, companionate marriage and parental dictation is seen as the antithesis to free election of marriage partners based on personal qualities. In the second plate of Marriage ALa-Mode (fig.13), depicting the early adverse consequences of the marriage contract, the language of the conversation piece is evoked through the contravening of its conventions and its positive representation of domestic life is intimated in the negative depiction of unhappiness, profligacy and inconstancy. Judy Egerton has drawn a comparison between this scene and Arthur Devis's Robert Dashwood and his Wife, Anne, of Stamford Park, Nottinghamshire of 1750 (fig.14) in order to highlight Hogarth's parody of the decorum of the genre. 28 Both depict small-scale figures, placed well back in an intricately described room that evidences their wealth through the display of costly ornaments and furniture. However, whilst Mr and Mrs Dashwood's capital is mediated through their apparent taste, Hogarth lampoons the newly married Squanderfields' lack of such refinement. Instead of an Italianate H. Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England; with some Account of the Principal Artists 4 Vols. (Strawberry Hill. 1762-71), IV. p.69. Hogarth quoted in E.D.H. Johnson, Paintings of the British Social Scene from Hogarth to Sickert (London, 1986). p.22 J. Egerton. 'William Hogarth's Marriage A-La-Mode' (paper given at Chiswick Town Hall, London, 7 October 1994) landscape over the fireplace, Cupid is depicted amongst ruins, neglecting his bow in order to play the bagpipes, a traditional emblem of crude sexuality.29 Instead of the vista through to the landscape garden that reinforces the display of the Dashwoods' taste, the front room in Plate II merely opens onto another room in which the candles in the chandelier are 'burnt out,' a picture is deemed so lewd it has to be covered by a curtain and the remains of a card game lie scattered about. Instead of the well-chosen busts on wall-brackets either side of the fireplace, the 'antique' bust on the mantelpiece in the Squanderfields' abode has a broken nose held on with glue and its eighteenth-century wig clearly denotes it to be a fake.
These features demonstrate the moral value attached to sophisticated consumerism at this time. Eighteenth-century England was becoming one of the foremost economic powers in the world and commerce was becoming an indelible fact of modem life. However, this same economic boom meant that previously unknown sums of money were being enjoyed by those who had never before experienced such disposable income and who were supposedly lavishing it on newly available consumer goods,3o Whilst writers such as Bernard de Mandeville welcomed such materialism whole-heartedly as stimulating trade and commerce, others were more reserved. 31 Francis Hutcheson's critique of Mandeville in the 1720s proffered a less extreme justification and rationale for the expenditure of money through this very 29 See J. Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art (1974) (London, 1991), pp.38-9 See A. Bermingham and J. Brewer, eds., The Consumption of Culture 1600-1800: Image, Object, Text (London and New York, 1995); J. Brewer and R. Porter, eds., Consumption and the World of Goods (London and New York, 1993); L. Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain 1660-1760 (London and New York, 1988) B. Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1714), ed. P. Harth (Harmondsworth, 1970) principle of taste. 32 Thus, Mr and Mrs Dashwood display their wealth through their carefully selected possessions and through their apparent knowledge of such civilised arts as landscape painting. Mrs Dashwood is simultaneously demonstrated to be fulfilling her role as a wise and tasteful spender of her husband's money, distributing it to create a beneficent domestic environment rather than spending it on personal display.33 The Squanderfields, in stark contrast, are employing no such careful filter of taste. The uncoordinated and undiscerning interior, together with the clearly extravagant lifestyle of the Viscountess, presents the couple as the antithesis to the ideals displayed in the Devis portrait and reinforces the criticism of such materialistic marriages.
The figures themselves are occupied in disparate activities and are depicted in significantly contrasting poses. Mr and Mrs Dashwood are placidly seated, she having just left the useful and properly domestic task of needlework to pose for the painting, he demonstrating his learning and education through the book that he holds to one side. The Squanderfields, meanwhile, are far from being 'politely' engaged. The Viscount has clearly come in from a night's revelries. His wife's lap dog sniffs at a woman's cap in his pocket and his sword lies discarded on the floor, suggestively broken and, furthermore, not withdrawn from its scabbard. The Viscountess sprawls in her chair and eyes her husband lasciviously, dressed in deshabille. the very antithesis to the proper, modest and demure figure of Mrs Dashwood. She has been involved in playing cards and in a music lesson, although the overturned chair and the 32 See D. Solkin. Painting for Money: Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London. 1993). chapter 3 33 N. Armstrong. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (Oxford and New York. 1987). p.59 fact that the instrument is not even out of its case suggests the music master's role to have been rather more amorous than pedagogical.
However, this polemic against arranged and commercial wedlock did not by antithesis promote unadulterated free choice founded on personal attraction. Writers and satirists joined forces in an equally fervent condemnation of romantic liaisons, often discussing the two stereotypes together as equivalent social and personal evils.
'Philogamus', for example, warned "either of these Extreams are generally attended with very unhappy consequences, to the great Detriment of Peace and Content, not only in private Families, but sometimes of Civil Society."34 Squire Allworthy's 'sermon' on the companionate ideal of marriage in Tom Jones similarly warned of the ill effects of such motives, opening with the statement; "surely we may call it a profanation, to convert this most sacred institution into a wicked sacrifice to lust or avarice." He then goes on to deal with matches founded on "the consideration of a beautiful person" and on "a great fortune" in turn. 3S Editors of periodicals added their voices. The Matrimonial Magazine, a journal entirely dedicated to the establishment of the companionate ideal, similarly cautioned that when "interest or passion join the hands," the marriage formed is "productive of the most real evils."36 These persistent warnings were specifically aimed at a female audience. It was often claimed that women, typically emotional, impressionable and irrational, could easily be influenced by amorous novels. Fictional romances would fill their heads 34 Philogamus, The Present State of Matrimony, p.47 3S Fielding, Tom Jones, pp.82-4 36 'Thoughts on Marriage' in The Matrimonial Magazine; or, Monthly Anecdotes of love and January 1775. Similarly, Benjamin Franklin in Marriage for the Court, the City and the Country, Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, pp.7, 11 entitled the opening section of his first letter: "Many with quixotic thoughts and misconceptions of love, rendering them susceptible to exploitation and seduction by Rakes and fortune hunters. John Gregory and Maria Edgeworth alike, despite writing some twenty years apart, compared the modem novel to poison, describing it as a medium which "warms the imagination, which engages and softens the heart, and raises the taste above the level of common life," creating "false ideas of life and of the human heart."37 The ill effects of such "extravagant fictions" on the female character were embodied in various eighteenth-century heroines. 38 In Richard Steele's The Tender Husband, Biddy Tipkin is a young girl who has lived isolated from the real world, constructing her own reality out of romances to the extent that Captain Clerimont calls her: "A perfect Quixot in Petticoats!"39 This analogy was developed further in Charlotte Lennox's highly successful novel, The Female Quixote, in which the heroine, similarly a young girl sequestered from the world with only romances for entertainment, is a social embarrassment at best and a danger to herself at worst. Her bizarrely extravagant and romantic notions are so extreme that her cousin declares he cannot marry her until she is divested of this foible. 40 However, perhaps the most thorough disquisition on the subject came in the personification of George Coleman's Polly Honeycombe, a character who again attempts to fashion her life into a novel, leaving her prey to the