(England 10 Nov 1697 – 25 or 26 October 1764)
38.5 x 31.9 cm (trimmed to platemark)
The setting is the poverty-stricken slums of St Giles, where the binge drinking of gin was a major social problem. A drunken mother is oblivious to her child’s fall into the stairwell of a gin cellar, while a skeletal ballad singer has passed out nearby. Gripe the pawnbroker is thriving, as people pawn everything for drink. Mothers quieten their babies with gin and children sip it. Hogarth published this print in support of a campaign to stop drunkenness among London’s poor. The Gin Act was passed in 1751, which introduced licensing of retail premises and a greatly reduced consumption.
Ronald Paulson, Hogarth's graphic works, New Haven, 1965. no.186
European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014