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This is probably one of the sketches
for a series of paintings about a 'Happy Marriage' which Hogarth planned but did not finish. This scene may show a young country squire's wife being fitted for the ball-gown she is to wear in the following scene, The Dance.

 

Her husband sits in the background, wearing a voluminous dressing gown.
He is playing with his youngest child,
held up by a doting nurse. The boy
in the centre plays at soldiers, while
the little girl to the right pours milk
into the staymaker's hat for the kitten under the table.

September 2004