Morning (first in the sequence from ‘The Four Times of the Day’)
Etching and engraving, black ink on paper
Paper: 48.8 x 39.7 cm; mount: 80.8 x 60.5 cm
A wealthy spinster crosses Covent Garden Piazza on a freezing morning.
The spinster’s attention is riveted on two embracing couples, causing her to ignore the beggar at her feet. Hogarth here draws a contrast between the hot and cold-blooded vices of the icy spinster and the steamy couples. Covent Garden had gone into decline by the 1730s with a proliferation of brothels, taverns and coffee houses. The presence of the beggars indicates how low it was possible to fall in this environment.