The work, a forerunner of Marriage à la Mode, was intended to satirize and poke fun at the types of dress and garbs that were in fashion at the time, and the superficiality of the tastes and nature of the aristocracy in general. Several figures are seen in the painting, all of whom are dressed in heavily caricatured renditions of the fashion that reigned in the 1740s. Most prominently exhibited is an elderly woman wearing a sacque covered with satirically overblown roses expanded by a large hoop. Standing near her is an opulently dressed man, thought to be "Beau" Colyear, 2nd Earl of Portmore (the dress he wears is said to be the very same he wore to his birthday in the year of the painting's creation). The two huddle together in admiration over the minute porcelain cup held by the lady and saucer held by the lord. Also part of the company is another woman clutching the chin of a black page boy wearing a turban – thought to be designed after Ignatius Sancho, an actor and writer, in his youth — both of whom are also dressed as exquisitely as the first two. The black page, holding a type of Chinese porcelain figure, is a servant, and was painted in as an element of irony in the work; as a slave, he mocks his masters, who themselves bowed before fashions and the latest frivolities of upper-class life. Even the monkey standing in the center foreground wears a flowing, cuffed robe as he examines the list of purchases made by one of the four — it is not known whom — at a recent auction. In the painting on the wall, the transitory nature of fashion is represented by the cupids at left, who use a bellows to blow up a fire of discarded petticoats and wigs; at right, the classical form of the female sculpture is contrasted with the cutaway rear view of her enormous hoop underskirt stiffened with whalebone, "the mode 1742" as the painting's legend has it. The fashionable hoops make the seated lady's dress rise up ridiculously behind her, and in a vignette on the fire-screen at right, a lady is shown trapped in a sedan chair that is filled by her hoops—this woman appears again in the background of Hogarth's Beer Street in 1752.