This is one of Hogarth's 'Four Times of Day' series, namely that of 'Morning' painted in 1736, I selected this one because the cold nature of the scene seems to eminate off the page towards the viewer.
This series is 4 paintings and engravings is the slightly less well known of Hogarth's moralising series which included also the Harlot's progress, the Rake's Progress. They tended to poke fun at London Society. They were also produced as engravings in 1738, which allowed for a wide dissemination of the image throughout the city.
In this image we see a syphilis ridden lady in the courtyard of Covent Garden. A site which now looks like this and has a very different atmosphere!
The lady on the other hand stands impassive to both the cold and the lewd behaviour going on behind her eyes. She appears to hold no sympathy for the plight of the frozen begger at her feet.
Here are the rest of the paintings.
Hogarth Four Times of Day: Noon
Hogarth Four Times of Day: Evening
Hogarth Four Times of Day: Night
These images collectively give us an interesting image of London's past (all be it a very satirical one).
There is so much more to say and see in the Hogarth Morning image so I encourage you to take a closer look on: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4a/Hogarth%27s_Morning.jpg
Try and spot the:
- The syphilis spots
- The wig being thrown from the tavern
- The man trying to cop a feel
- The carefully placed footprints of the lady