Transcriptions: Writing

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'Transcriptions: Writing' is a project inviting MA Creative Writing students from Birkbeck, University of London, to write a short fiction response to a National Gallery painting.

Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode: 4, The Toilette, about 1743

Sarah Walcott

William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode: 4, The Toilette
William Hogarth, 'Marriage A-la-Mode: 4, The Toilette', about 1743

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Lordy lord, these people is louche! See my mistress all in a state of undress as she receives her lover, that devious dog of a man with the Silvertongue? She done kill off her husband already. And leave her child to de care of others. She beautify herself and surround herself with degenerates, people that consort with de devil. Drinking and smoking and all sorts of cussing going on – hells bells they even letting dat boy play with de no good stag hunter, Actaeon!

Portraits of sinfulness gaze down upon this witless crew. And me, see how I is portrayed: thick-lipped and goggly eyed, as I, servant, slave, must serve drink to dem harlot woman and man.

And I suppose, you, viewer, of dis painting, you see this revelry and fecklessness and criticise, or more likely, romanticise.

But I bet among all dis, you do not see me.