W. Hogarth - The Marriage a-la-Mode

'The Marriage a-la-Mode" is perhaps the most famous of all Hogarth's moral series and it consists of six engravings. The subject of the series is contemporary high life and a marriage based on money and vanity.
"The Marriage Contract" shows us Hogarth's central characters, inspired by the increasing vogue for marital alliances between old aristocratic families and members of the commercial bourgeoisie. Here, the elegant Lord Squandfild probably points to the family's lineage. He accepts a pile of banknotes from the ungainly, unfashionably dressed merchant, and exchanges them for the mortgage documents proffered by an emaciated usurer. Meanwhile, the future couple displays mutual indifference as the Earl's foppish son gazes admiringly at his own reflection, which is not so perfect, we can see a spot, caused by syphilis. As for his fiancée, she plays with her handkerchief and listens to the blandishments of the smooth-talking lawyer Silvertongue.
The main purpose of the scene "Early in the Morning" is to reflect the increasing indifference between the married couple. Besides, the dissolute way of life led them to the financial difficulties. The interior decoration of the couple's home serves as an emblem of their unsatisfactory relationship.
The action of the third picture "The Inspection" takes place in the Museum where he came because of the syphilis was there result of the womanizing. At his side we can see a demure young girl holding a pile box, supposing that she is afflicted and may, indeed, be the sours from whom the Earl has picked up the illness.
The next picture, "The Toilette", shows the Countess surrounded by a group of parasites Tom Rakewell’s entourage. A group of foolishly foppish guests sit idly drinking tea and exchanging gossip, while the lawyer Silvertongue makes an assignation with Countess.
The picture "The Death of the Earl" depicts the Earl falls to the floor, having lost his life in a duel with Silvertongue, whom he has caught red-handed with his wife. The lawyer, dressed only in his nightshirt, scrambles through the window while the night watch bursts through the door, stunned by the scene that awaits them. The Countess claps her hands in supplication amidst her discarded clothes and a face mash from the evening's earlier entertainment.
The name of the last picture is "The Death of the Countess". The series comes full circle, closing in the home of the merchant with its view over London Bridge. Besides the simple furnishings of the Earl's apartment and vulgar Dutch paintings, we can see the uncarpeted floor, broken windows, emaciated dog and unappetizing meal. And in these inauspicious surroundings the Countess's life has come to an end. In the finale embrace the Countess's childe kisses the prostrate corpse. Leg irons revel that the child suffers from rickets, a disease that was considered to be the most incurable in the eighteenth century. The black spot on the child's check also betrays the signs of syphilis passed on by the young Earl. The congenital handicaps inflicted on the child by parental misdeeds are compounded, in the final irony, by the fact that the child is a girl: the family tree, so proudly brandished by the Earl in the opening scene, has withered and will die.