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William Hogarth - Large Masquerade Ticket



As the Print denominated "The Small Masquerade Ticket" represents a large company eagerly pressing to the door of a Masquerade, we have here the interior of the room, crowded with a countless multitude of grotesque characters, celebrating the orgies of the place; which, in the references engraved under the original Print, are thus described:

"A. a sacrifice to Priapus. B. a pair of Lecherometors, shewing ye company's inclinations as they approach 'em. Invented for the use of ladys and gentlemen by ye ingenious Mr. H--r" [Heidegger].

This titular divinity of the gardens being thus considered as the god of their idolatry, his Term is entitled to the first notice. The arched niche in which it is placed is terminated by a goat's head, ornamented with a pair of branching antlers, and decorated with festooned curtains. Beneath is an altar, the base of which is relieved with rams' heads and flowers; and three pair of stags' horns are fixed to the top.

As a companion to it, the united statues of a Venus and Cupid, both of them masked, are placed on the opposite side of the Print. Cupid, who is a very well-drawn and spirited little figure, has bent his bow to shoot at random; and Venus seems contemplating the rise and fall of the mercury in one of those instruments which, the reference informs us, is to show the inclinations of all that approach it. The niche in which these divinities are placed is not only decorated with curtains, but crowned with cooing doves. An altar, beneath, has on it three or four bleeding hearts, which, being close to the blaze, are in the way of being broiled. On the base are queue-wigs, bag-wigs, &c.

This may suffice for the presiding deities of the diversion. The head of their high priest, the renowned Heidegger, master of the mysteries and manager in chief, is placed on the front of a large dial, fixed lozenge-fashion at the top of the Print, and probably intended to vibrate with the pendulum; the ball of which hangs beneath, and is labelled Nonsense. On the minute-finger is written Impertinence, and on the hour-hand Wit; which seems to intimate Nonsense every second; Impertinence every minute; and Wit once an hour! The time is half past one; the witching hour of night.-" 1727," the date of the year this Print was finished, is on the corners of the clock.

Recumbent on the upper line of this Print, and resting against the sides of the dial, the Artist has placed our British lion and unicorn renversés, lying on their backs, and each of them playing with its own tail; the lion sinister, and the unicorn dexter.

The supporters of our Regal arms being thus ludicrously introduced may perhaps allude to the encouragement George the Second gave to Heidegger, who at that period might be said to
 
"Teach Kings to fiddle, and make Senates dance;"

and who, by thus kindly superintending the pleasures of our Nobles, gained an income of £5000 a year, and, as he frequently boasted, laid out the whole in this Country.

Beneath is a framed picture of a Bacchanalian scene; and on each side shelves, with pyramids of jellies, sweetmeats, &c. inscribed, "Provocatives." On two labels placed before them is written, "Supper below."

A pair of instruments, somewhat similar to the mental thermometer in "The Medley," are fixed on each side. On  that next to Venus and Cupid is written cool, warm, dry, changeable, hot, moist, fixt. On the other, expectation, hope, hot desire, extreme hot, moist, sudden cold.

The motley crew, who make up the crowd, it is not easy to describe; for every one present assumes a false character.

Here are priests of all persuasions; bramins, friars, drones, monks; and monkies not a few.

A figure of Time with his scythe, eagerly pressing towards the altar with rams' heads, is arrested in his course bv a sort of Slaughterman, with a mask, shaven crown, and short apron; who violently grasps his wing with one hand, and with the other lifts up a hatchet, which with fatal force he aims at his head. For sanctuary, this feeble figure lays hold of one of the horns of the altar; but is frustrated in his attempt to reach the steps by a Bishop, who with a sacri- ficing knife coolly stabs him to the heart; while a monkey, in the habit of a Chorister, holds a basin to catch the blood; the fumes of which he snuffs up with ineffable delight. This Mr. John Ireland supposed to be a metaphorical view of a Prelate hilling Time at a Masquerade.

Next to this group is a Mother Shipton, hooking on the arms of a Clown; and near them a Harlequin, endeavouring to draw the attention of a graceful Columbine from a turbaned Turk, who attempts to seduce her from her partycoloured gallant.

A female, with the mask of a monkey's head, salutes a man in a black veil; and while an old Capuchin, with the face of an ape, whispers soft things to a young girl, a fellow something like the famed Tiddy-doll, draws up her head- dress to a point like a fool's-cap.

A man in the right-hand corner, solicitous to give a glass of wine to one of the sisterhood, lifts up her veil, for the purpose of her drinking it.
 
 
Mise à jour le 27 juin 2014
Créé le 20 décembre 2012
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues