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A Rake's Progress, Plate 1, The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser's Effects

William Hogarth1735

SCAD Museum of Art

SCAD Museum of Art

A Rake?s Progress, a series of eight etchings by English engraver and painter William Hogarth, was printed as social commentary for the 18th-century audience. The series focuses on the demise of Tom Rakewell, the heir of a prosperous merchant, who squanders his inheritance on an extravagant lifestyle. The first image of the series depicts Tom Rakewell, just after his father?s death, as he learns he is the heir to his family riches. Throughout the room others mourn the loss while Rakewell shows no compassion as he is fitted for new opulent clothing. At his side stands his loving fianc�e whom he now shuns, in hopes of a new life.

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