Object Image

Marriage A-la-Mode: 4, The Toilette

The fourth scene of Hogarth's Marriage A-la-Mode takes place in the wife's bedroom. Now a Countess, she is following the aristocratic French fashion of receiving visitors as she finishes getting dressed. A coral baby's teether hanging from the back of her chair indicates that she has become a mother. The Countess does not look at herself in the mirror - she only has eyes for her lover Silvertongue, who offers her a ticket to a masquerade.

An opera singer and his flautist entertain the Countess's guests while a manservant offers them cups of chocolate. A little page boy holds a statue of Actaeon, whom the chaste goddess Diana transformed into a stag and then caused to be killed by his own hound...

c. 1743
Oil on canvas
70.5 x 90.8cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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