Street Cries: depictions of London’s poor
25 March to 31 July 2011
A display of significant paintings, prints and drawings went on show at the Museum of London from the 25 March 2011. The images, by artists including Gustave Doré, Théodore Géricault, Thomas Rowlandson and Paul Sandby, consider how the urban poor were depicted from the 17th to the 19th century.
The prints and drawings illustrate street vendors and London’s urban poor, including travelling carpenters and cane-weavers, prostitutes and criminals. Some of these images present an idealised vision of the poor; others are amongst the first works of art to attempt a more realistic view of London’s poorest inhabitants.
The collection poses interesting questions about how society in these periods was organised, the motives of those making, selling and buying the prints, and the status and identity of the people portrayed. The Street Cries exhibition explores these issues and showcases some of the museum’s most important 18th and 19th century prints and drawings.
Exhibition curator, Francis Marshall, said:
“The Museum of London’s extensive art collection contains many items which are rarely displayed for conservation reasons. This show offers the chance to see some of our gems: delicate watercolours and prints depicting gritty London subject matter.”
The display at the Museum of London is free and runs from 25 March to 31 July 2011.