Drinks throughout art history

1. William Hogarth’s Gin Lane 1751

Gin Lane by William HogarthThis etching was central in anti-gin propaganda in support of the 1751 Gin Act. Depicting the evils of gin drinking, thought to be the main cause of London’s high crime rate at that time.

Meant to be viewed in contrast to his Beer Street (below), an image of happiness and prosperity, Gin Lane shows the dreadful poverty, madness, infanticide and death that was destroying a society addicted to the spirit.

Unfortunately the image is not an exaggeration; one mother in 1734 reclaimed her two-year-old child from the workhouse where it had been newly clothed. She strangled her child and sold the clothes for 1s. 4d. to buy gin. Central in anti-gin propaganda.

BeerSt1

One Response to “Drinks throughout art history”

  1. john szabo says:

    See Jean François de Troy’s 1735 paiting Le Déjeuner d’Huîtres, a serious oyster and champagne party. This could well be the first paiting that depicts champagne as we know it today – sparkling. Look closely at the four aristocrats looking up at the popped champagne cork in the middle of the painting.

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