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 piazza at Covent Garden

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PostSubject: piazza at Covent Garden   Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:06 pm

In Morning, a lady makes her way to church, shielding herself with her fan from the shocking view of two men pawing at the market girls. The scene is the west side of the piazza at Covent Garden, indicated by a part of the Palladian portico of Inigo Jones's Church of St Paul visible behind Tom King's Coffee House, a notorious venue celebrated in pamphlets of the time. Henry Fielding mentions the coffee house in both The Covent Garden Tragedy and Pasquin. At the time Hogarth produced this picture, the coffee house was being run by Tom's widow, Moll King, but its reputation had not diminished. Moll opened the doors once those of the taverns had shut, allowing the revellers to continue enjoying themselves from midnight until dawn.[12] The mansion house with columned portico visible in the centre of the picture, No. 43 King Street, is attributed to architect Thomas Archer (later 1st Baron Archer) and occupied by him at the date of Hogarth's works.[13] It was situated on the north side of the piazza, while the coffee house was on the south side, as depicted in Hogarth's original painting. In the picture, it is early morning and some revellers are ending their evening: a fight has broken out in the coffee house and, in the melée, a wig flies out of the door. Meanwhile, stallholders set out their fruit and vegetables for the day's market. Two children who should be making their way to school have stopped, entranced by the activity of the market, in a direct reference to Swift's A Description of the Morning in which children "lag with satchels in their hands".[2] Above the clock is Father Time and below it the inscription Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.[a] The smoke rising from the chimney of the coffee house connects these portents to the scene below.



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