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Drawing - A Fashionable Marriage / Marriage à la Mode / The Countess's Morning Levée
  • A Fashionable Marriage / Marriage à la Mode / The Countess's Morning Levée
    Himid, Lubaina
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A Fashionable Marriage / Marriage à la Mode / The Countess's Morning Levée

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Himid, Lubaina (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wash drawing

  • Museum number:

    E.601-1996

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case DR, shelf 17

In 1986 British artist Lubaina Himid was drawn to an image in a popular print series by William Hogarth. Marriage a la Mode of 1743 sought to expose the greed, fashionable excesses and exploitation which Hogarth saw at the heart of affluent 18th-century London life. Through six scenes, it describes the fall-out from an arranged marriage between the son of an impoverished Earl and the daughter of an avaricious tobacco merchant. Himid focused on scene four in which the countess is pictured at her toilette receiving the attention of her lover the lawyer Silvertongue, surrounded by friends and admirers.

Himid’s response took the form of an installation entitled A Fashionable Marriage. Using larger-than-life plywood figures, she reused the characters and composition of the Hogarth original to deliver a scathing critique on contemporary art and politics. A ‘fashionable [black] boy servant’ pictured in the foreground in orientalised dress in Hogarth’s image becomes, for Himid, ‘The Radical Activist’. The auction house booty he was previously playing with has been replaced with a globe and a pile of ‘war toys’. World security, Himid seems to suggest, is held within his palms.

This and the related drawings (E.599-602-1996) were produced by the artist as 'aides memoires' for the 3D installation.

Physical description

A pencil and wash drawing of a young dark-skinned man in orientalist dress (feathered turban, etc.) who kneels next to a globe and pile of 'war toys' (toy soliders, baton, helmet, guns etc.). In his right hand he holds a missile. With his left he points to its tip, which has been broken off.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1986 (made)

Artist/maker

Himid, Lubaina (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Wash drawing

Dimensions

Height: 75 cm, Width: 55 cm

Descriptive line

'A Fashionable Marriage', wash drawing, Lubaina Himid, Great Britain, 1986

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

See essays by Lubaina Himid ('A Fashionable Marriage') and Bernadette Fort ('Lubaina Himid's A Fashionable Marriage: A Post-Colonial Hogarthian ''Dumb Show''') in The Other Hogarth: Aesthetics of Difference, Bernadette Fort & Angela Rosenthal (eds.), Princeton University Press, 2001
Taken from R.P. 96/425

Materials

Paper (fiber product)

Subjects depicted

Baton; Globe; Missile; Helmet; Turban

Categories

African Diaspora; Black History

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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