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Genuine, original William Hogarth engravings and etchings from Darvill's Rare Prints

Marriage à la Mode

Technically more sophisticated than Hogarth's other progresses, Marriage à la Mode was aimed at the upper middle class and the aristocracy, a smaller, more select audience than the artist usually addressed in this genre. The subject of his work, according to his advertisement, is the "Modern Occurrences in High-Life." It tells the story of two young people ill-suited to each other who are forced into a marriage ordained to failure. Serving only the vanity and avarice of their parents, the union drives the couple to destroy each other and wreck their families.

Unlike most of Hogarth's crowded scenes, this work scrutinizes five main characters, concentrating on the deterministic and increasingly desparate ways that the two protaganists develop in response to each other and their circumstances.

Though the series appears to be an attack on the cynical opportunities of both the middle class and the aristocracy, its exposure of the aristocracy is much more complete and harsh than its criticism of the artist's own class. This bias is best revealed by the complete lack of sympathy with which young Squanderfield is portrayed. Effete and narcissistic from the beginning, he contrasts on a moral level with his middle-class wife, whose natural goodness is finally destroyed by his protracted neglect and repeated infidelity.

[Excerpts this page are from Engravings by Hogarth, edited by Sean Shesgreen (Dover, 1973).]

 

 

Marriage à la Mode

Marriage à la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate I

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by G. Scotin
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 13/16 x 13 1/2 inches

Condition: Excellent, one or two unobtrusive specks in margin

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE I

This scene depicts the crude commercial transaction which yokes a powerless middle-class girl and a vain beau together in marriage. Sitting under his grand canopy, the stout, gouty Lord Squanderfield points proudly to his family tree. His geneology indicates that he is descended from "William Duke of Normandy"; his family, entirely aristocratic, has flourished except for a single member who married out of class. Through the window the Earl's new Palladian house is visible; work on the mansion has stopped for lack of money. Before the half-finished building loiter the curious, the scornful and the Earl's idle servants. At the window the architect, anticipating resumption of work on the place, studies "A Plan of the New Building of the Right Honble."

Across from the Earl the plainly dressed merchant sits stiffly in his chair, his sword sticking out awkwardly from between his legs. The chain on his vest suggests he is an alderman. He scrutinizes the "Marriage Settelmt of The Rt. Honble. Lord Viscount Squanderfield." Between the two men stands a thin usurer who accepts the Earl's newsly acquired money (he holds several bags in his hand and some notes marked "£1000") for a "Mortgage."

In the background, appropriately enough, the couple to be married sit together on a couch. The effete beau has turned his back to his bride to admire himself in the mirror. He gazes so narcissistically at himself in the glass that he fails to notice the conduct of Lawyer Silvertongue reflected there. Wearing a foolish look of self-approval, he takes snuff affectedly and balances himself on his tiptoes.

Hunched next to him sits his unsophisticated bride, dressed much more plainly than he, resentful and discontent at the way she is being disposed of. She plays with her wedding ring. Beside her Councilor Silvertongue leans solicitously forward as he sharpens his pen. The girl, however, pays no attention to him. Beside this couple sit a pair of dogs, one with a coronet on its back; their manacled state is symbolic of the young couple's condition.

On the wall a head of Medusa seems to gaze at the scene in utter horror. Above the usurer hangs a portrait of the Earl. A burlesque of portraits executed in the sublime manner, it depicts the Earl as Jupiter with a thunderbolt in his hand, a comet flashing above him, a cherub blowing his wig in a different direction from his voluminous clothing and a cannon (placed near his groin) exploding. On top of the elaborate frame a lion seems to grin at the work. All the other pictures are scenes of disaster in the form of death or torture; they comment on different aspects of the calamitous marriage and the Earl's fashionable taste for foreign art of questionable worth. On the ceiling is a depiction of Pharaoh's armies in the Red Sea. On the walls hang pictures of David and Goliath, Judith and Holophernes, the martyrdom of St. Sebastian, Prometheus being tortured by a vulture, the massacre of the innocents, Cain killing Abel and the martyrdom of St. Lawrence.

Marriage à la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate II

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by B. Baron
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 7/16 x 13 15/16 inches

Condition: Very Good to Excellent, light scattered fox marks and smudges confined to margins

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE II

Leading extravagant, vitiated lives, the husband and wife have become completely alienated from each other. It is 1:20 A.M.; they sit apart after a night of independent entertainments. Enervated and listless, the husband slumps back on a chair gazing dejectedly at the floor, unaware of his wife's presence. A dog pulls his mistress' cap from his pocket; before him lies his sword broken in a fight. His wife, stretching gracelessly, vainly attempts to win her husband's attention by her glance and outstretched foot. Her entertainment, much more innocent and middle-class than his aristocratic debauchery, has been to remain at home and entertain guests at cards. "Hoyle on Whist" lies at her feet.

Above his head hangs a clock ornamented with the comically incongruous images of a cat, a fish and a Buddha. The mantle is cluttered with tasteless, grotesque little statues; a Roman bust with a broken nose stands in the center. In a picture above the mantle, Cupid plays the bagpipes; his bow lies broken beside him.

The young nobleman has his father's problems with money. His despairing Methodist steward (he carries a copy of "Regeneration" in his pocket) leaves with a sheaf of bills in one hand and a single one marked "Red'd. June 4, 1744" in the other.

In a second room, every bit as disordered as the first, a sleepy, carelessly dressed servant leans against a chair. The room is decorated with a row of mirrors, and a picture so obscene that it is covered is juxtaposed with portraits of Saints Matthew, John and Andrew. The candle stubs indicate the card party has been an all-night affair. One of the candles sets fire to a chair.

Marriage à la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate III

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by B. Baron
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 1/2 x 13 7/8 inches

Condition: Excellent, tiny unobtrusive specks in margin, faint finger smudge on extreme left middle edge of paper

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE III

The young couple's depravity has increased and their idle, pleasure-seeking lives are now so unconnected that they are portrayed in separate plates. Plate III shows the husband attending to one of the consequences of his debauchery. He has come to a quack whose house is a gallery of grotesque objects, many of them images of death.

In a glass case behind the young nobleman a human skeleton makes sexual advances to a preserved cadaver. A wig block stands beside them. The horn of a narwhal projects from the side of the case; the horn and the shaving dish between the pillboxes and the urinal warn that this quack was trained as a barber. [See the barber's shop in "Gin Lane."] The rest of the items hint at the practice of a science more ominous and occult than medicine; they include: a femur, a human head with a pill in its mouth, a tripod shaped like a gallows, a bone, a hat, shoes, a spur, a chained crocodile, a sword and shield, a bug and a picture of a child. Above these hangs a stuffed crocodile with an ostrich's egg attached to its belly.

Through the door the quack's laboratory is visible. In the left foreground stand two threatening machines used for oddly divergent purposes: "An explanation of two superb machines, one for setting shoulders, the other for pulling corks, invented by Mr. Pill, seen and approved by the Royal Academy of Sciencesof Paris." On the right side of the room stands a cupboard full of labeled jars and drawers. A ferocious wolf's head seems to warn of their contents and of their owner's voraciousness. Beside the chest stand two mummies and two pictures of abnormal human beings.

Squanderfield, half-threateningly and half-cajolingly, complains about the efficacy of the doctor's pills. The bowlegged quack, standing beside a memento mori, defends himself. The pathetic, tearful child standing between the nobleman's legs seems to be the victim of his decadent appetite for girl-children, his interest in normal sexual relationships having been exhausted. The relationships between the nobleman, his child-mistress and the commanding, fierce-eyed woman who opens the clasp knife is unclear. The wild-eyed woman may be his second mistress, prompted to violence by the disease acquired from the man or by jealousy of the younger girl; she may be the girl's mother or procurer about to revenge her pollution of defend some aspect of her business reputation.

Marriage à la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate IV

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by S. Ravenet
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 5/8 x 13 13/16 inches

Condition: Excellent, one or two tiny unobtrusive specks in margin

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE IV

Having cast off her middle class awkwardness and inhibition, the Countess imitates the life style of the aristocracy (the coronets about the room indicate that the old Earl is dead). In contrast to her husband's bizarre passion for young girls, the Countess's middle-class origins reveal themselves in here interest in an ordinary love affair. Wearing jewelry on her hair and fingers and dressed in a low-cut gown, she sits at her levee with her back to her guests, oblivious to the music, attentive only to the addresses of Silvertongue. A child's rattle on her chair reveals that she has a baby which she has the servants care for.

Looking very much at home, Silvertongue lolls on the couch beside her, leaning intimately toward her. he points out the screen behind him and, as he explicates the masquerade scene on it, arranges an assignation for the night. The paper in his hand reading "1st Door," "2d Door," "3d Door" is a key to the screen. Beside him lies "Sopha," a venereal novel by Crébillon. The art in the room comments on the lady's preoccupation. Above her are pictures of Lot's daughters preparing to seduce their father and Jupiter possessing Io. On the opposite wall hang a version of the rape of Ganymede and a portrait of Silvertongue himself. Before them a black boy plays with a group of tasteless art objects purchased by the lady at an auction. A book beside them reads "A Catalogue of the Entire Colection of the Late Sr Timy. Babyhouse to be Sold by Auction." The lot includes a tray inscribed with an erotic version of Leda and the swan by "Julio Romano" and a statuette of Actaeon; the boy points to Actaeon's horns to interpret the import of the conversation behind him.

Lying on the floor across from the youth are playing cards and correspondence, both indicative of the Countess's social life. "Ly Squanders Com is desir'd at Lady Townlys Drum Munday Next"; "Lady Squanders Company is desir'd at Miss Hairbrains Rout"; Lady Squanders Com is desir'd at Lady Heathans Drum Major on next Sunday"; "Count Basset begs to no how Lade Squander Sleapt last nite." The spelling on these notes is a judgment upon their authors' literacy.

Most of the group sit around in strained, affected poses. The center of focus is a bloated castrato (probably Francesco Bernardi, and Italian singer who lived in England for a while.) Overdressed in gold lace and tastelessly bedecked with jewels, the vain fellow sits haughtily back in his chair, unaware that only two in the whole group listen to him. Next to the singer sits a man with his hair in papers, bored but formally attentive. Beside him a fellow gestures preciously and screws his face up in feigned appreciation. A man with a riding whip snores while his wife strains forward in the direction of the castrato. A black servant laughs at the scene.

Marriage à la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate V

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by R.F. Ravenet
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 9/16 x 13 3/4 inches

Condition: Excellent, a few tiny unobtrusive specks in margin

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE V

Hearing of the lawyer's and Countess's assignation, the young Earl has come to their dreary meeting place, challenged the councilor to a duel and died in the defense of a virute which he neither honored nor valued in a woman he did not love. From a masquerade, the couple have gone to the Turks Head bagnio (a paper with a Turk's head and the words "The Bagnio" lies by the woman's underwear). Undressing hastily, they have gone to bed but have been suprised before the end of the night. In the ensuing fight, the Earl is killed and, as the horrified landlord and watch enter, the lawyer flees in his shirt, abandoning his mistress to the police and her dying spouse. She kneels in tears to beg his forgiveness.

The eerie lighting from the fire, the shadows from the tongs and the sword, the scattered undergarments and the grinning masks (prophetic death masks) give a grotesque atmosphere to the scene. The tapestry on the main wall depicts in a caricatured manner the judgment of Solomon. The portrait of the prostitute with a squirrel in her hand is satirized by the appearance of a soldier's legs beneath it. Above the door St. Luke, patron of artists, seems to record the scene in amazement.

Marriage  la Mode by William Hogarth

(click image to enlarge— Darvill's electronic watermark does not appear on actual engraving)

Marriage à la Mode
Plate VI

Invented, Painted and Published by William Hogarth
Engraved by G. Scotin
(Heath edition, 1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 1/4 inches x 19 1/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 7/16 x 13 3/4 inches

Condition: Excellent, a few tiny unobtrusive specks in margin

[For sale in a complete set of 6 full page engravings, see below for details]

PLATE VI

Her husband killed and her lover hanged, the Countess, returned to her father's house, is driven to suicide by the tragic consequences of the foolish and ill-fated venture perpetrated on her.

Plainly dressed, she expires on a chair as an ineffectual physician scurries away. On the floor lies a bottle of "Laudanum"; next to it  the precipitating cause of her suicide, "Counseller Silvertongue last Dying Speech." As her impassive, mercenary father dispassionately removes the ring from her finger, a withered old nurse holds her daughter for a dying kiss. The crippled girl has inherited both her father's veneral disease and his beauty spot; since the young Earl has no male child, his family line has ended. The apothecary, who has a stomach pump and a "julep" bottle in his pocket, points to the empty laudenum bottle, and berates the servant who looks at it uncomprehendingly. The fellow, who wears his master's ill-fitting coat buttoned askew, is an idiot hired cheaply by the alderman.

The house reflects the alderman's miserly life style, which has supported his costly and tragic manipulation of his daughter's life. A dark apartment with bare floors and cobwebbed window with broken panes, is located near London Bridge, which at that time had house built across it. On the wall hangs the alderman' robe, a clock with its figures reversed (it should be 1:56 P.M.) and an "Almanack." Three "Dutch" paintings (really satires of Dutch realism) decorate the walls; the first (unframed) depicts a man urinating; the second is a still-life crowded with "low" objects (an arbitrary collection of kitchen utensils, jugs and food); the third shows a drunkard lighting his pipe from the swollen nose of a companion. In the alderman's cabinet stands a single liquor bottle, some pipes and a library of five books; four are financial records: the "Day Boo," "Ledge," "Rent Book" and "Compound Interest." The hall is lined with fire buckets.

From the meager fare on the table, a skeleton-like dog steals a lean pig's head.

Complete set of 6 full page plates
Marriage à la Mode

Original Copperplate Engravings and Etchings from:
The Works of William Hogarth from the Original Plates Restored by James Heath, Esq., R.A.; With the Addition of Many Subjects Not Before Collected: To Which is Prefixed, a Biographical Essay on the Genius and Productions of Hogarth, and Explanations on the Subjects of the Plates by John Nichols, Esq., F.S.A.

London: Printed for Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, Paternoster Row
by Nichols and Son, Parliament Street
— 1822 —

[Interesting side note: this set comes from the collection of Joseph Cunard (1799-1865), brother of Samuel Cunard — founder of the White Star Line.]

$2,500
(sold as a complete set of 6 full page original engravings only,
scroll down for any individual plates that may be available)

Please note: the shipping charge for these plates may need to be adjusted to account for a higher insurance value.
If necessary, we will send you a secure electronic invoice for the additional amount.
Please be sure to check your email. Thank you.

INDIVIDUAL PLATES FROM THE 1822 HEATH EDITION INDIVIDUAL PLATES FROM THE 1822 HEATH EDITION

Marriage a la Mode plate III
(click image for enlargement)

Marriage à la Mode, plate III

Invented and Painted by Wm. Hogarth
Engraved by B. Baron
Edition: Heath (1822)

Sheet size: approx. 24 3/8 x 19 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 1/2 x 13 7/8 inches

Condition: Very good; lower left corner dog-eared, minor plate rubbing, smudgin in margin, very light foxing in extreme edges of paper

$400


 

Marriage a la mode, plate V
(click image for enlargement)

Marriage à la Mode, plate V

Invented and Painted by Wm. Hogarth
Engraved by R.F. Ravenet
Edition: Heath (1822)

Sheet size: approx. 25 x 18 3/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 9/16 x 13 3/4 inches

Condition: Very good; usual age toning to extreme edges of paper, light foxing in margins, minor edgewear

Marriage a la Mode, plate VI
(click image for enlargement)

Marriage à la Mode, plate VI

Invented and Painted by Wm. Hogarth
Engraved by G. Scotin
Edition: Heath (1822)

Sheet size: approx. 24 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 7/16 x 13 3/4 inches

Condition: Very good; minor edgewear and light foxing in margins

Marriage a la Mode, plate VI
(click image for enlargement)

Marriage à la Mode, plate VI

Invented and Painted by Wm. Hogarth
Engraved by G. Scotin
Edition: Heath (1822)

Sheet size: approx. 24 7/8 x 18 1/2 inches
Plate size: approx. 17 7/16 x 13 3/4 inches

Condition: Very good/Excellent; minor edgewear and light foxing in margins; short tears along right edge

$400


 

from The Works of William Hogarth by the Rev. John Trusler
(Jones and Co, London, 1833)
SOLD AS COMPLETE SET OF 6
The Contract
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
The Contract


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

The Breakfast Scene
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Breakfast Scene


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Scene with the Quack
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Scene with the Quack


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Toilette Scene
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Toilette Scene


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Death of the Earl
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Death of the Earl


"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Death of the Countess
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Death of the Countess

"The Works of William Hogarth
in a Series of Engravings: with descriptions and a
Comment on Their Moral Tendency
by the Rev. John Trusler"

(Jones and Co., Temple of the Muses, (Late Lackington's), Finsbury Square, London, 1833)

Original 180+-year-old copperplate engraving

Sheet size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
original text accompanies engraving

Please refer to detailed scan by clicking on thumbnail image provided to assess condition.

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

COMPLETE SET OF 6 MARRIAGE A LA MODE ENGRAVINGS
(Trusler, 1833)

$100

from The Complete Works of William Hogarth
(Wm. Mackenzie, London, 1870)
SOLD AS COMPLETE SET OF 6
The Contract
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
The Contract


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Excellent

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

The Breakfast Scene
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Breakfast Scene


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Excellent

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Scene with the Quack
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Scene with the Quack


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Excellent

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Toilette Scene
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Toilette Scene


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Excellent

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Death of the Earl
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Death of the Earl


"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Very Good/Excellent—light foxing in margins

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

Death of the Countess
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Death of the Countess

"The Complete Works of William Hogarth"
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Very Good/Excellent—light foxing in margins

(note: entire sheet is too large to scan)

AVAILABLE AS COMPLETE SET, SEE BELOW

COMPLETE SET OF 6 MARRIAGE A LA MODE ENGRAVINGS
(Mackenzie, London, 1870)

$150

MISCELLANEOUS MARRIAGE A LA MODE PRINTS
Death of the Earl
(click image to enlarge)

Marriage à la Mode
Death of the Earl


Unknown 19th century source

Sheet size: 8 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches
(steel engraving)

Condition: Poor/Fair
Extensive damp stain, foxing

$10

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