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  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1740 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Meissen porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Bequest of Captain H. B. Murray

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case N, shelf 4

This porcelain plate produced by the Meissen factory features an adaptation of a popular print made by the British artist William Hogarth (1697-1764). Unlike many of his fellow artists, Hogarth chose to make images of contemporary life and he used satire to illustrate social problems such as prostitution, alcohol abuse, corruption and exploitation. This image comes from the series A Harlot’s Progress (1732) which tells the story of Moll Hackabout, a Yorkshire country girl. Moll travels to London in search of work but gets drawn into a vicious circle of exploitation, ending in her death from venereal disease.

In this scene (plate II of the series), Moll appears as the mistress of a wealthy Jewish merchant, whose attention she attempts to divert by overturning a table to enable her illicit lover to escape. Their moral corruption contrasts with the luxurious formal setting and the stiff pose of the young black servant who suggests both the colonial source of the merchant’s wealth and the quality of self restraint so lacking in the couple.

Physical description

Plate of white hard-paste porcelain painted in colours and gilded with a scene in the centre adapted from plate II of William Hogarth's series of prints 'A Harlot's Progress' (1732), surrounded by baroque borders in gold. Gold lace-work on the rim, with four small landscapes in red in reserved panels.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)


ca. 1740 (made)


Meissen porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

Crossed swords
in underglaze blue.


Diameter: 9.75 in

Object history note

Plate made at the Meissen porcelain factory but probably decorated outside, in the town of Meissen.

Descriptive line

Plate of white hard-paste porcelain painted in colours and gilded, featuring plate II of Hogarth's 'A Harlot's Progress', made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1740.


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilded


Black History; Ceramics; Porcelain; Tableware & cutlery


Ceramics Collection

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