William Hogarth, Industry and Idleness, plate 7

Industry and Idleness, plate 7

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

RA Collection: Art

The seventh 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 Returned from Sea and in a Garret with a Common Prostitute' contrasts with the previous plate (17/3528). Whereas Goodchild has married his master's daughter and become a partner in the firm, Tom Idle is bed with a prostitute and (as the pistols on the floor indicate) has taken to highway robbery. The connection between prostitution and highway robbery is common in Hogarth's work, as for instance in plate three of A Harlot's Progress (17/3415). The door is bolted and barricaded, suggesting Tom Idle's fear of apprehension. He starts, seemingly fearful of intruders, although the source of the noise is the cat pouncing.

Object details

Industry and Idleness, plate 7
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Published by
William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Object type

269 mm x 351 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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