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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
  • Enlarge image

A Fashionable Marriage / Marriage à la Mode / The Countess's Morning Levée

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Himid, Lubaina (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wash drawing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:


  • 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. An ambassador waiting with his hair in curlers, sipping from a cup became ‘the dithering art funder’. In this preparatory drawing he is depicted sitting on a wobbly picket fence, unable to decide to whom he should allocate his funds: ‘the disabled, the black, the women, or wait until some else gives permission?’ (Himid, 2001).

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

Physical description

A wash drawing which recasts Hogarth's 'Feeble Envoy' as an arts funder. The figure sits on a picket fence with his legs crossed sipping from a cup. He wears a black necktie, blue jacket, red knickerbockers, white tights and black shoes. The white rollers in his hair have taken on the appearance of horns. Under the image is written in pencil, 'Waiting to have his hair done 1743 / Sitting on the fence 1986'.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1986 (made)


Himid, Lubaina (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Wash drawing


Height: 74.5 cm, Width: 54 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. 92/425


Paper (fiber product)

Subjects depicted



African Diaspora; Black History


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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