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Classification: Print

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Image of A Harlot's Progress, Plate 5

William Hogarth
English, 1697–1764

A Harlot's Progress, Plate 5

From the series, A Harlot's Progress

Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Northern Europe, English, London
12 1/8 x 14 11/16 in. (31 x 37 cm)
Medium and Support: Etching and engraving on laid paper
Accession Number: 2018.0005.0006.0005

Credit Line: Gift of the Weil Print Endowment in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Sr.

"A Harlot’s Progress" was one of several series of engravings made by Hogarth that were highly influential in the development of printmaking in Europe as well as England. He was one of the first visual artists to address the social inequities suffered by the lower classes, the morally bankrupt behavior of members of the aristocracy, and the exploitation of women at all levels of 18th-century society. The main character in Harlot’s Progress—a fictional girl named Moll Hackabout— experienced circumstances then common in 18th century London: the fate of a country girl who arrived in the metropolis of London, and was then preyed upon by unscrupulous characters who exploited her youth and naiveté.

Moll is beset by venereal disease, and two physicians argue over her treatment. A servant rifles through her traveling chest and removes what remains of her finery. Amidst the chaos, a young boy, most likely her child, struggles to toast some food over an open fire.

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