William Hogarth, Industry and Idleness, plate 11

Industry and Idleness, plate 11

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

RA Collection: Art

The penultimate plate of William Hogarth's series of twelve prints Industry and Idleness, which the artist 'calculated for the use & Instruction of youth'. The set shows the consequences in later life of the contrasting behaviours of two apprentices in the same weaver's workshop, with each scene accompanied by scriptural passages (mostly from Proverbs). With this set Hogarth wanted to appeal to the market for popular prints rather than an exclusive, high-end audience (as in the case of Marriage A-la-Mode, published shortly before), and printed impressions on cheap paper for sale at all of London's print shops. The original plates are now in the Thomas Ross Collection, England.

This plate, 'The Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn', is one of two plates which, as the culmination of the series, are printed in a larger format. The scene is at the intersection of Tyburn Road and Tyburn Lane (near the present-day Marble Arch, at the north-east corner of Hyde Park) where executions often took place. The idle apprentice Tom Idle, having resorted to a life of crime, has been condemned to death by his former colleague Goodchild. Idle reads from a Bible, with a Methodist preacher stood beside him and his coffin behind him. Paulson compares the scene with paintings by Brueghel such as the Merry Way to the Gallows (Darmstadt Museum), and as in Brueghel the focus is less on a particular individual than the life of the crowd, which here includes Idle's mother, a man selling cakes, and a woman selling copies of 'The Last Dying Speech & Confession of Tho: Idle'.

Object details

Industry and Idleness, plate 11
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Published by
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Object type

278 mm x 407 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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