The Rakes Progress 4

The Rakes Progress 4

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

Date: 1735
Dimensions:
356 x 400 mm
Medium: Etching and engraving
Object number: PT1103
DescriptionPlate IV Arrested for Debt
1735. Etching and Engraving. 35.6 x 40.0 cm
State 1. Engraver: William Hogarth (1697-1764)
Below Plate: Invented, Painted & Engrav'd by Wm. Hogarth & Publish'd June ye 25, 1735. According to Act of Parliament Plate.4.
Poulson 135
PT1103
In this scene we see where Tom's profligate life and social climbing have led him. Tom is in St James in Mayfair on St David 's Day, the patron saint of Wales. Two men in the scene can be seen wearing leeks in their hats, the national symbol for Wales. Tom, in a hired Sedan chair is being taken to St James Palace to be presented at court on the occasion of Queen Caroline's birthday. Tom has drawn the curtains in the chair in an attempt to avoid his any of his creditors seeing him on his way to the palace. Unfortunately his chair is stopped by two bailiff demanding payment for outstanding debts. One of the bailiffs shows Tom the arrest warrant. Unable to pay Tom is about to be arrested until his former lover Sarah Young, the woman who is carrying his child steps in with her hard earned wages as a seamstress to pay his debt. In this engraving Hogarth is illustrating the start of Tom's great reversal of fortune.
In this scene Hogarth alludes to the vices that have led to Tom's indebtedness. A saddler's sign can be seen over Tom head, this makes reference to Tom's love of betting on horse races.
In the background there is the sign for "Whites", a club and gaming house popular with aristocracy to which Tom is a frequent visitor trying his hand at dice and card games.