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Marriage A-la-Mode: 6. The Lady's Death

The Lady's Death is the last of a series of six oil-on-canvas paintings by English painter and pictorial satirist William Hogarth, created around 1743. The series, entitled Marriage A-la-Mode, depicts an arranged marriage and its disastrous consequences in a satire of 18th-century society, and is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London.

In this painting, the countess has poisoned herself in her grief and poverty-stricken widowhood after her lover is hanged at Tyburn for murdering her husband. An old woman carrying the countess's infant daughter allows her to give her mother a kiss, but the mark on the child's cheek and the caliper on her leg suggest that syphilis has been passed on to the next generation. The countess's father, whose miserly lifestyle is evident in the bare house, removes the wedding ring from her finger.

Painting credit: William Hogarth

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