Marriage A-la-Mode: 2, The Tête à Tête

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is the second in Hogarth’s series of six paintings titled Marriage A-la-Mode. It is a few months after the wedding of the Earl of Squander’s son to the Alderman’s daughter. The bride stretches sleepily, apparently after spending the whole night playing cards. The groom sprawls in his chair, exhausted from a night of debauchery on the town – the small dog tugs a girl’s muslin cap out of his pocket, and a second muslin cap is wound round the hilt of his broken sword. The large black spot on his neck denotes syphilis. Two fiddle cases lie on top of one another on an overturned chair, suggesting that the Viscountess has been spending the evening in activities more intimate than simply playing whist. The drawing room is a battleground for the silent dislike between the couple and the disharmony of their possessions.

The National Gallery, London



Marriage A-la-Mode: 2, The Tête à Tête


about 1743


Oil on canvas


H 69.9 x W 90.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1824

Work type



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