Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F

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

Drawing
1986 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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. The countess and her lover became British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, ‘an unwholesome liaison of capitalism and imperialism’ (Bernadette Fort, 2001). In this preparatory drawing Silvertongue’s couch is occupied by ‘The B-Movie President / The Cowboy Ruler’. Reagan wears a star-spangled cloak over a denim shirt, denim jeans and leather chaps. One hand holds an ‘Invitation to World War Three’, the other gestures to a display of military weapons.

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


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleThe B-Movie President / The Cowboy Ruler / 1986 / Silvertongue / 1743 (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
Wash drawing with collage
Brief Description
'A Fashionable Marriage', wash drawing with collage, Lubaina Himid, Great Britain, 1986
Physical Description
A pencil and wash caricatured drawing of the former US president Ronald Reagan. Reagan is pictured wearing a blue cloak patterned with stars and two rockets, cowboy-style denim shirt, leather belt with metal buckle, blue jeans, chaps and spurs. He reclines on a couch. In his right hand he holds a piece of paper marked 'Invitation to World War Three xx' and with his left gestures to a drawn image of a globe marked with a 'bang' on a screen on which hangs an assortment of guns and other weapons. Above the globe a newspaper cutting reads 'The cowboy rides high'.
Dimensions
  • Height: 74cm
  • Width: 54cm
Subjects depicted
Summary
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. The countess and her lover became British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan, ‘an unwholesome liaison of capitalism and imperialism’ (Bernadette Fort, 2001). In this preparatory drawing Silvertongue’s couch is occupied by ‘The B-Movie President / The Cowboy Ruler’. Reagan wears a star-spangled cloak over a denim shirt, denim jeans and leather chaps. One hand holds an ‘Invitation to World War Three’, the other gestures to a display of military weapons.



This and the related drawings (E.599-602-1996) were produced by the artist as 'aides memoires' for the 3D installation.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • 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 Taken from R.P. 96/425
Collection
Accession Number
E.600-1996

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record createdDecember 6, 2007
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