Hogarth’s most exuberant scene is plate 3, depicting a long night of debauched revelry in the Rose Tavern, Drury Lane. The intoxicated group has already slashed the portraits of the Roman emperors on the wall, save that of Nero, the most depraved. A syphilitic prostitute (face patches are usually a tell-tale sign of venereal disease) slips her hand into Tom’s shirt while passing his fob watch to her accomplice seated behind. Across the table a squabbling pair spit gin into each other’s faces. The girl on the right strips down in preparation for her obscene performance in which she will pose and gyrate on the large platter that the porter is carrying through the door and about to place on the table.
Peter Raissis, Prints & drawings Europe 1500–1900, 2014
A rake's progress: the orgy
etching and engraving
iii of 3 states
36.0 x 41.0 cm platemark; 37.3 x 42.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 3 exhibitions
A Rake's Progress: Hogarth and Hockney, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Woollahra, Mar 2006–Mar 2006
Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006
European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014