For Paulson the two prints depict the results of a move away from a paternalistic state towards an unregulated market economy. Brueghel's compositions are also mirrored in the layers of detail in Hogarth's two images. While there were no paintings of the two images to sell, and Hogarth did not sell the plates in his lifetime, variations and rare impressions existed and fetched decent prices when offered at auction. Francis Place later wrote that enjoyments for the poor of this time were limited:
The middle classes would have seen the pictures as a straight comparison of good and evil, while the working classes would have seen the connection between the prosperity of Beer Street and the poverty of Gin Lane. There is more of imagination in it-that power which draws all things to one,-which makes things animate and inanimate, beings with their attributes, subjects and their accessories, take one colour, and serve to one effect. Further, more direct, contrasts are made with the woman in the sedan chair and those in Gin Lane: Under the sign of the Barley Mow, a blacksmith or cooper sits with a foaming tankard in one hand and a leg of beef in the other. However he is painting a sign advertising gin, so his ragged appearance could equally reflect the rejection of the spirit by the people of Beer Street. An Inquiry into the Late Increase in Robbers, and they aim at the same targets, though Hogarth's work makes more of oppression by the governing classes as contributing factor in the gin craze, and concentrates less on the choice of crime as a ticket to a life of ease. Every part is full of "strange images of death. Copies of the originals by other engravers, such as Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen , Samuel Davenport and Henry Adlard were also in wide circulation in the 19th century. Certainly one shilling put the prints out of reach for the poorest people, and those who were pawning their clothes for gin money would not be tempted to buy a print, but there is evidence that Hogarth's prints were in wide circulation even among those that would have regarded them as a luxury, and there are records from the 18th century indicating that his works were used for moral instruction by schoolmasters. Cruelty Tom Nero at centre Images of children on the path to destruction also litter the scene: He focuses on the well-fed woman wedged into the sedan chair at the rear of Beer Street as a cause of the ruin of the gin-addled woman who is the principal focus of Gin Lane. Half-naked, she has no concern for anything other than a pinch of snuff. It is George II's birthday 30 October indicated by the flag flying on the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in the background and the inhabitants of the scene are no doubt toasting his health. Paulson sees the images as working on different levels for different classes. Townley's verses are equally strong in their condemnation of the spirit: Mr Pinch lives in the one poorly maintained, crumbling building in the picture. He is ignored by the inhabitants of Beer Street as they ignore the misery of Gin Lane itself. Most shockingly, the focus of the picture is a woman in the foreground, who, addled by gin and driven to prostitution by her habit—as evidenced by the syphilitic sores on her legs—lets her baby slip unheeded from her arms and plunge to its death in the stairwell of the gin cellar below. Two large Prints, design'd and etch'd by Mr. Gin Craze The gin crisis was severe. Desperation, death and decay pervade the scene. When it became apparent that copious gin consumption was causing social problems, efforts were made to control the production of the spirit. Like Hogarth, Dickens noted that poverty rather than gin itself was the cause of the misery: Industry and jollity go hand in hand". An early impression showed a scrawny Frenchman being ejected from the scene by the burly blacksmith who in later prints holds aloft a leg of mutton or ham Paulson suggests the Frenchman was removed to prevent confusion with the ragged sign-painter. Gin Lane[ edit ] Gin Lane Set in the parish of St Giles —a notorious slum district that Hogarth depicted in several works around this time—Gin Lane depicts the squalor and despair of a community raised on gin.
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