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 the fifth scene in the series the Countess and the lawyer, Silvertongue, have attended a masquerade together and have retired to the Turk's Head bagnio. They are disturbed by the young Earl who has followed them there. The two men fight and the Earl is wounded. When the Watch breaks into the room the Countess is begging forgiveness from her dying husband and Silvertongue is attempting to escape through the open window.
On the wall behind the scene is a crude tapestry depicting the 'Judgement of Solomon'. Hogarth is ridiculing the fact that it is not until the imminent death of the Earl that we can see the Countess's true love for him.