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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Idle Prentice Turn'd Away and Sent to Sea, 1747


The Idle Prentice Turn'd Away and Sent to Sea, William Hogarth, 1747, Yale University Lewis Walpole Library.

Today's print is part of the "Idle Prentice" series by William Hogarth. This print shows our title character beside a sea chest (marked "The Idle/His Chest"). He argues with a pair of sailors while his mother weeps for him. At the bow of the boat rows the only man doing any work: a disgruntled looking mariner with a short clay pipe between his teeth.

The Prentice wears a cocked hat, neckcloth, and jacket without cuffs, pockets, or collar. Behind him, dangling what appears to be a cat o' nine is a rather vile looking seaman. The villain wears a neckcloth and some sort of short cap. Perhaps it is a Dutch or Monmouth cap. This jack wears a smock as well.
To the right of the Prentice, and pointing away to the ship (or perhaps to the fellow being hanged on the waterfront), a tar wears a hat that frankly confounds me. At first glance, it definitely appears to be a cocked hat. On closer inspection, it looks parted at the peak, or perhaps that's a very long and oddly straight turn in his hair? I can't make heads or tails of it. He too wears a smock.


At the bow, and looking sick of the argument at the stern, the sailor wears what is very clearly a backward cocked hat. There is a simple and small cloth covered button and short loop at the front, likely designed to be let out in inclement weather or hot sun to give him some cover. His neckcloth is black, and he wears a shirt without waistcoat or jacket.

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