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Among the most entertaining objects associated with alcohol consumption are those showing the humor often associated with drinking. As production costs for ceramics, glass, prints, and other objects gradually lowered during the 1700s, such items made “purely for fun” became more widely available.

William Hogarth’s famous print A Midnight Modern Conversation (London, 1732/33), portrays a raucous group of men sharing wine and punch. The scene is reproduced here in painted form inside a rare English delft punch bowl (Fig. 1). Hogarth’s print, possibly a satire on drinking clubs, was for sale in 1750s Philadelphia and reappeared painted on elegant Meissen (German) porcelain and even as life-sized wax figures that could be viewed for the cost of an entrance ticket.

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