The Rake's Progress, Plate I

William Hogarth (1697-1764). The Rake's Progress, Plate I. . "The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser's Effects," engraved by T. S. Engleheart. Source: Complete Works, facing p. 25. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.]

According to the commentary by the Rev. J. Trusler and E. F. Roberts,

The history opens, representing a scene crowded with all the monuments of avarice, and laying before us contrasts such as are too general in the world to pass unobserved; nothing being more common than for a son to prodigally squander away that substance his father had, with anxious solicitude, his whole life been amassing. — Here we see the young heir, at the age of nineteen or twenty, raw from the University, just arrived at home, upon the death of his father. Eager to know the possessions he is master of, the old wardrobes, where things have been rotting time out of mind, are instantly wrenched open; the strong chests are unlocked; the parchments, those securities pf treble interest, on which this avaricious parent lent his money, tumbled out; and the bags of gold, which had long been hoarded with griping care, now exposed to the pilfering hands of those about him. [80]


Complete works of William Hogarth ; in a series of one hundred and fifty superb engravings on steel, from the original pictures / with an introductory essay by James Hannay, and descriptive letterpress, by the Rev. J. Trusler and E.F. Roberts. London and New York: London Printing and Publishing Co., c.1870.

Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth: His Life, Art and Times, 2 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971.

Last modified 9 September 2004