Industry and Idleness | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Industry and Idleness

December 04, 2009

Industry and Idleness


Ah the industrious servant and the idle servant.  The story of William Goodchild and Jack Idle are told through a printed cotton handkerchief, made from an engraving (1775).  These types of handkerchiefs were made for various reasons, sometimes to celebrate a cause or event and in other cases like this, to educate.  This one teaches the viewer the importance of hard work.

The center of the handkercheif says "The Good and the Bad Servant at their Work" and shows just that.  I apologize for the sorry resolution.  The two sit at what appears to be a loom?  (Your guess is welcome.)  There is a letter posted on the wall behind them that says Good and Bad.



The good servant sits upright and works while the bad servant, possibly suffering an unwanted hangover is leaning on the loom, accomplishing nothing.

The bad servant is trying to cure his condition by drinking exactly what he drank the night before! Oh but what misfortune!  His ale has fallen to the ground and split due to his fuzzy state.  You can imagine the good servants dismay at his co-worker.  To make matters worse, it appears a thief is trying to steal something from this bad servant with a stick through the window!

Below the scene is a small bubble of moral thought for your Friday. It says:
Industry is the Handmaid of Fortune, But the Sluggard shall be doathed with Rags.

3 comments

  1. Hard work I don't mind but smart work I prefer thanks for sharing.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not a loom. Perhaps a device for winding warp for a loom? Look at the weight holding down a frame tied to the threads. A loom would have visible cloth stretching away from the worker.

    ReplyDelete