William Hogarth was an English painter and engraver who satirized the follies of his age. The story starts in the mansion of the Earl Squander who is arranging to marry his son to the daughter of a wealthy but mean city merchant. It ends with the murder of the son and the suicide of the daughter. In the first scene the aged Earl (far right) is shown with his family tree and the crutches he needs because of his gout. The new house which he is having built is visible through the window. Two dogs, chained together in the bottom left corner, perhaps symbolise the marriage. Hogarth's details, especially the paintings on the walls, comment on the action. A grand portrait in the French manner on the rear wall confronts a Medusa head, denoting horror, on the side wall.

William Hogarth:

       The Marriage Contract

Pg. 931 Fig. 26-2


28"x 36"

First of many, series of paintings Hogarth produced for his Marriage a la Mode suite.

Live Impressions:

The dogs tell a subtext of another story. All men seem ridiculous. Each character is totally a description in their own.

Kent State Ohio

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Required Viewing

  • Jan van Eyck:

Man in a Red Turban.

Potrait of Giovanni Arnolfini.

  • Leonardo da Vinci:

Virgin and Saint Anne.

  • William Hogarth:

The Marriage Contract.

  • Joseph Mallord William Turner:

The Fighting "Temeraire,"