William Hogarth's Gin Lane is one of his best-known works of engraved art. Along with its companion, Beer Street, Gin Lane addressed a serious problem in mid-18th century England - the abuse of spirits (= strong alcoholic drinks such as whiskey and gin) by the working classes and the poor. In the right foreground a skeletal ballad singer has just died. His left hand still clutches his bottle. A drunken woman is taking her snuff while her neglected baby falls to his death in front of the Gin Royal Tavern. Behind the wall a man and his dog fight for a bone. Further back, a man pawns his coat and saw and his wife her kitchen tools for some more drinks. The pawn broker is properly named, "S. Gripe" (= complaint, affliction). Both his comfortable home and rich clothes stand in contrast to the devastation around. Only pawn brokers, coffin makers and distillers profit in such a society. Continue to read here.