William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress, plate 2

A Rake's Progress, plate 2, 1735

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

RA Collection: Art

Plate two from William Hogarth's set of eight engravings A Rake's Progress. As for many of Hogarth's best-known engravings, the set was based on preexisting paintings by the printmaker, painted in 1734 and now in Sir John Soane's Museum, London.

The set, made as a sequel to Hogarth's Harlot's Progress, was the artist's second 'modern moral subject'. It tells the story of a young man of modest means, Tom Rakewell, coming into an inheritance and entering fashionable London life before succumbing to financial ruin and madness. This plate shows Tom (holding as letter) installed in a stately mansion, surrounded by those who stand to benefit from his patronage: on the left, a dancing master, landscape gardener, fencing master and composer; and on the right a huntsman, jockey and a sinister figure whose letter of recommendation identifies him as a 'Capt. Hackum'. In an anteroom on the left more people (including a poet and a tailor) wait for an audience; the walls are adorned with incompatible artworks, including a Judgement of Paris which parodies Tom's situation.

This impression is from the third state of the plate- in the later states small changes were made to the image, and a mis-spelling of the word 'Harlot' (as 'Horlot') in the accompanying verses was corrected!

Object details

A Rake's Progress, plate 2
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Object type
Place of Publication

317 mm x 387 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
This image is from a book

Hogarth's prints. Vol. I. - [s.l.]: [n.d.]

Click here to view the book

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