The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 275.000 mm
Width: 353.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
William Hogarth, The fellow 'prentices at their looms, a drawing for Plate 1 of Industry and Idleness
In this image Hogarth shows the interior of a weaving workroom. It can be identified from the lettering on a tankard as being in Spitalfields, the centre of London's thriving silk industry.
This is the more finished of two preliminary drawings for the first plate in Hogarth's series Industry and Idleness. It is already clear which apprentice weaver is destined for success and which for failure: Francis Goodchild applies himself conscientiously, eyes on his work as he passes the shuttle carrying the thread of the weft between the threads of the warp on his loom; Tom Idle, on the other hand, is asleep having drunk a copious amount of beer. Their master enters the room with his stick ready to strike the lazy worker.