Object Details




William Hogarth (English, 1697 - 1764)




1730 - 1731


Oil on canvas


40 x 33.7 cm (15 3/4 x 13 1/4 in.)

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This narrative painting describes the moments before a seduction. A young man in red breeches attempts to pull a young woman onto a bed. Struggling, she tries to push him away, dragging her dressing table down with her. Ironically, an open drawer reveals a book on the rules of courtship. Below, a small dog barks, alarmed by the commotion.

In the Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth, published in 1785, John Nichols wrote that a "certain vicious nobleman," the Duke of Montague, supposedly commissioned this painting and its companion, After. According to an old tradition, the protagonist was said to have been Sir John Willes, later Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas.

Many artists made engravings, some of them scandalous, after these paintings. Hogarth's engravings after his own paintings are truer to the originals.

by 1785 - 1801

Frederick Ponsonby, third earl of Bessborough, 1758 - 1844 (Bessborough House, Surrey, England) [sold, Besborough sale, Christie's, London, February 7, 1801, lot 67a (lot added in by hand in the CL copy, in same lot as companion), to Charles Howard.]

1801 -

Charles Howard, eleventh duke of Norfolk, 1746 - 1815 (Arundel Castle, Sussex, England)

by 1833 -

Henry Ralph Willett, 1786 - 1857 (England)

- 1919

Baroness Cornelia Henrietta Maria Spencer-Churchill Guest Wimbourne, 1847 - 1927 (Canford Manor, Dorset, England) [sold, Wimborne sale, Christie's, London, June 20, 1919, lot 72 (in same lot as companion), to F. Holbrooke.]

1919 - still in 1925

F. Holbrooke (Bladon Castle, Burton on Trent, Stafford, England) [unsold, Holbrooke sale, Christie's, London, June 12, 1925, lot 153 (in same lot as companion).]

by 1931 -

Art Gallery (Leicester) (London, England)

by 1949 -

Thorsten Laurin (Stockholm, Sweden)

- 1959

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 15, 1959, lot 132 (in same lot as companion) through Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England) to J. Paul Getty.]

1959 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Hogarth (December 2, 1971 to February 6, 1972) (Cat. 52)
  • Tate Britain, (London), December 2, 1971 to February 6, 1972
William Hogarth Dipinti, Disegni, Incisioni (August 26 to November 12, 1989) (Cat. 134)
  • Fondazione Giorgio Cini, (Venice), August 26 to November 12, 1989
Depictions of Women by William Hogarth and his Contemporaries (September 19, 1995 to January 7, 1996) (Cat. 134)
  • Huntington Art Collections, (San Marino), September 19, 1995 to January 7, 1996
Hogarth (2006) (October 18, 2006 to August 26, 2007) (Cat. 41)
  • Tate Britain, (London), February 5 to April 29, 2007
  • CaixaForum Barcelona, May 21 to August 26, 2007

Nichols, John. Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth: With a Catalogue of His Works. 3rd ed. (London: John Nichols, 1785) pp. 233-34.

Ireland, John. A Supplement to Hogarth Illustrated; Compiled from His Original Manuscripts, in the Possession of John Ireland (London: For the author; Mr. Nicol; and Messrs. Boydell, 1798) p. 23.

Clerk, Thomas. The Works of William Hogarth. 2 vols. (London: R. Scholey, 1812) p. 202.

Nichols, John. Anecdotes of William Hogarth: Written by Himself (London: J. B. Nichols and Son, 1832) pp. 351-52.

Dobson, Austin. William Hogarth (London: Sampson Low, Marston and Company Limited, 1891) p. 330.

Dobson, Austin. William Hogarth. New and enlarged ed. (London: William Heinemann, 1907) p. 198.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Historical Portraits [...] also Early English Portraits and Pictures by Old Masters [...]. June 20, 1919 p. 12, no. 72.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters. June 12, 1925 p. 22, lot 153.

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Narrative Pictures: A Survey of English Genre and its Painters (London: B. T. Batsford Ltd., 1937) fig. 34.

Beckett, Ronald Brymer. Hogarth (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 1949) pp. 9, 63, 80, fig. 33.

Oppé, Adolf Paul. English Drawings, Stuart and Georgian Periods, in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle (Oxford: The Phaidon Press Ltd., 1950) p. 66, under no. 361.

William Hogarth 1697-1764, exh. cat. (Manchester: City of Manchester Art Gallery, 1954) p. 13, under no. 12.

Quennell, Peter. Hogarth's Progress (New York: The Viking Press, 1956) pp. 73-74.

Sotheby's, London. Catalogue of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Drawings and Paintings. July 15, 1959 p. 30, lot 132.

Antal, Frederick. Hogarth and his Place in European Art (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962) pp. 41, 95, 171, 224n7, 237n57, 248n37, fig. 38a.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth's Graphic Works. 2 vols. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1965) vol. 1, p. 171, under nos. 141-42.

Baldini, Gabriele, and Gabriele Mandel. L'Opera completa di Hogarth pittore (Milan: Rizzoli, 1967) p. 94, fig. 54A.

Hulton, Paul. "'France in the Eighteenth Century' at the Royal Academy." Master Drawings 6, no. 2 (August 1968) pp. 165-66, fig. 5.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth: His Life, Art and Times. 2 vols. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971) vol. 1, pp. 230, 232, 282, 380, 450, 530n64, fig. 89; vol. 2, p. 253.

Gowing, Lawrence. Hogarth (London: Tate Gallery, with Boston Book & Art Publisher, 1971) p. 29, no. 52, ill.

Paulson, Ronald. The Art of Hogarth (London: Phaidon, 1975) p. 43.

Goodison, J. W. Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge: Catalogue of Paintings. Vol. 3, British School (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977) p. 114.

Webster, Mary. Hogarth (London: Studio Vista, 1979) pp. 44-45, 181, fig. 37.

Bindman, David. Hogarth (London: Thames and Hudson, 1981) pp. 43-44, 48-49, 210, fig. 32.

Cowley, Robert L. S. Hogarth's Marriage à-la Mode. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1983) p. 5.

Rococo: Art and Design in Hogarth's England, exh. cat. (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, with Trefoil Books, 1984) p. 48.

Penny, Nicholas, Pierre Rosenberg, et al. Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1723-1792, exh. cat. (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 1985) p. 201, under no. 42, entry by David Mannings.

Morineau, Michel. "Le divan ou le sofa. Retour sur la psychoanalyse d'une oeuvre de Hogarth." In Histoire sociale, sensiblités collectives et mentalités (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1985) p. 67.

Johnson, Edward Dudley Hume. Paintings of the British Social Scene from Hogarth to Sickert (New York: Rizzoli, 1986) p. 275n8.

Godby, Michael. "The First Steps of Hogarth's 'Harlot's Progress.'" Art History 10, no. 1 (March 1987) pp. 27, 36n8.

Vogler, Richard. Reading Hogarth, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Wight Art Gallery, UCLA, 1988) p. 12.

Treasures from the Fitzwilliam, exh. cat. (Washington D. C.: National Gallery of Art, with the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, 1989) p. 119, under nos. 122a, 122b, entry by Craig Hartley.

William Hogarth: dipinti, disegni, incisioni, exh. cat. (Venice: Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Istituto di Storia dell'Arte, with Neri Pozza, 1989) p. 78, no. 134, ill.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth. Vol. 1, The "Modern Moral Subject," 1697-1732 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991) pp. 218-20, 231, 299, 303.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth. Vol. 2, High Art and Low, 1732-1750 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992) p. 108.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The Index of Paintings Sold in the British Isles during the Nineteenth Century. 4 vols. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 1988- ) vol. 1 (1988), pp. 373, 375.

Crown, Patricia. Depictions of Women by William Hogarth and his Contemporaries, exh. cat. (San Marino: Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens) unpaginated, no. 2.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 60, ill.

Uglow, Jenny. Hogarth: A Life and a World (London: Faber and Faber, 1997) pp. 178, 180.

Bindman, David. Hogarth and his Times: Serious Comedy (London: British Museum Press, 1997) p. 97.

Einberg, Elizabeth. Hogarth the Painter (London: Tate Gallery Publishing, 1997) p. 11.

Briggs, Austin. "Joyce and Hogarth: 'Up like a Rocket, down like a Stick.'" James Joyce Quarterly 39, no. 3 (Spring 2002) pp. 543-44.

Hallett, Mark, and Christine Riding. Hogarth, exh. cat. (London: Tate Britain, with Tate Publishing, 2006) pp. 76-77, 79, 255, no. 41, ill.

Simon, Robin. Hogarth, France and British Art: The Rise of the Arts in 18th-century Britain (London: Hogarth Arts, 2007) p. 91, fig. 81.

Zuffi, Stefano. Amore ed erotismo (Milan: Electa, 2008) p. 95, ill.

Zuffi, Stefano. Love and the Erotic in Art. Stephen Sartarelli, trans. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) p. 95, ill.

Bowers, Toni. Force or Fraud: British Seduction Stories and the Problem of Resistance, 1660-1760 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) cover ill.