The 'Marriage à la Mode' series was Hogarth's first to satirize the upper classes. In particular he was attacking arranged marriages for economic convenience. The series tells of the disastrous marriage of the Earl of Squanderfield's son, Viscount Squanderfield, to the daughter of a wealthy Alderman of the City of London.
In this, the second scene in the series, the marriage has taken place the previous day and the couple meet the next afternoon as the Viscountess takes a rather late morning tea. She yawns provocatively, tired after her card party of the previous night which as left their apartment in disarray. The Viscount sits, uninterested in her, with a broken sword and lace cap in his pocket suggesting he has spent the night visiting a brothel and drinking. The Methodist steward leaves the room in disgust holding a pile of bills and only one receipt. The couple's union is already proving to be a disaster.
The interior decoration of the room mocks the fashion of the time and highlights the couple's doomed relationship. Three pictures of saints are flanked by a reclining nude which has been covered by a curtain to expose only her foot and over the mantlepiece a painting shows Cupid among ruins.