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Hogarth,William (1697-1764)

The Orgy aka The Rake at the Rose-Tavern (A Rake's Progress) 1735 The Tavern Scene shows the Rake amusing himself in a notorious brothel, the Rose Tavern in Covent Garden, after an evening of drinking and hooliganism. Next to the Rake on the floor are the lantern and staff he has captured of a watchman earlier in the night (another sign that he has been in a fight is that his sword is unsheathed). The picture is full of sordid details: on the far left the contents of a chamberpot are spilled over a dish of roast chicken, one of the prostitutes at the table spits at another one (who is holding a knife), a stripper in the foreground is undressing herself for an obscene show which she will perform on a silver plate (which her pimp is holding together with a candle that she will extinguish in her vagina after the dance)and a street singer by the door on the left is singing 'The Black Joke', a notoriously obscene song. The prostitutes, who are stealing the Rake's watch, have pockmarks on their face (a sign that they have caught syphilis), while the pills on the floor next to the Rake suggest that he has caught the disease too. Oil on canvas; 62,5 x 75 cm

Sir John Soane's Museum, London, Great Britain