Work Is A Visual Metaphor For The Social, Political Concerns Of Contemporary Victorian England

Work Is A Visual Metaphor For The Social, Political Concerns Of Contemporary Victorian England

Length: 2105 words (6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Begun in 1852 and completed by 1863, Work is a visual metaphor for the social, political concerns of contemporary Victorian England. Ford Maddox Brown’s painting foregrounds, through compositional decisions, the issues of emigration, public health, class and industrialisation formed due to the installation of a new water works main, in 1852, by the New River Company. Central to Brown’s composition is manual labour alongside many other characters that juxtapose each other due to class - the idle rich, the poor, the unemployed, the street sellers and the Irish immigrants. Work encompasses all forms of labour in a visual form with “every inch of …. (a) canvas pregnant with meaning and thought” (Curtis, 1992, p. 624)

Towards the left behind the buildings, one can see the reservoir, which was completed by 1856. Brown witnessed these excavations, which aimed to “connect a planned reservoir on The Mount to Hampstead proper” (Curtis, 1992, p.624). Brown experienced this “living condition of “extreme poverty” on High street in Hampstead.. near the scene of Work” (Curtis, 1992, p.625). Victoria England suffered from water pollution due to disposed water from factories and water closets during the time. As well as a lot of pollution caused by the poor drainage and sewerage systems in London. Many people still drank from river water due to the lack of accessibility to clean water which lead to over “11,000 individuals in London alone (who) died in a major cholera outbreak” (Curtis, 1992, p.625). This is a key environmental issue that Brown tackles throughout the painting through the characters and the reservoir at the centre of the painting. It relied on many labourers and craftsman to solve the issues occurring between the water supply and...

... middle of paper ...

... address. At the heart of Work, Brown centralises the hardworking labourers that, in turn, showcase his moral affinity with supporting the plight of the poor and the working class. The navvies are contributing to society by installing the waterworks main, in hope of improving the contemporary concerns of the time, the rarity and high expense of water which developed many issues such as: alcohol consumption, the unemployed, cholera and death. Brown’s passion for hard work is also highlighted in the proscenium archway- the highest section of the painting, in hierarchal terms, above the upper class which encompasses Brown’s overall message that he strives to voice: the importance of the water supply, the problem with the increase in water pollution and the involvement of the labourers in attempting to improve public health, despite their deprivation.

Word Count: 2,099.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The New England And Chesapeake Region

- Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, the English nation began colonizing a large part of the American East Coast. Even though the New England and Chesapeake regions were both settled by the English, the two regions developed differently due to the contrasting reasons for settlement. The settlers in the New England region sought out religious freedom opposed to pursuit for economic liberty in the Chesapeake region. The different reasons for settlement caused the two regions to have many unique variances and similarities in their religious beliefs, financial goals, and toleration....   [tags: Puritan, Massachusetts Bay Colony, England]

Better Essays
1047 words (3 pages)

Thomas Carlyle 's Social And Political Criticism Of England 's Condition During The 1840s

- There is no denying that Thomas Carlyle’s social and political criticism of England’s condition during the 1840s was among the most influential writing of that time. In his essay “Past and Present,” Carlyle acknowledges the fact that poor working conditions is a big problem in society. He states in the text, “And yet I will venture to believe that in no time, since the beginning of Society, was the lot of those same dumb millions of toilers so entirely unbearable as it is even in the days now passing over us.” (Carlyle, 29)....   [tags: Wealth, Working class, Social class, Middle class]

Better Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

Social, Economic and Political Differences Between the New England and Chesapeake Colonies

- During colonial times, European nations quickly colonized the New World years after Columbus’ so called discovery. England in particular sent out a number of groups to the east coast of the New World to two regions. These areas were the New England and the Chesapeake regions. Later in the late 1700s, these two regions would go though many conflicts to come together as one nation. Yet, way before that would occur; these two areas developed into two distinct societies. These differences affected the colonies socially, economically, and politically....   [tags: American History]

Better Essays
720 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Puritan Influence On New England

- The Puritan Influence in New England The ideas and values held by the Puritans such as the separation of church and government, no toleration for other religions, the belief in high education, and a hard work ethic, influenced the political, social, and economical development of the New England Colonies from 1630 through the 1660s in many ways. These Puritan ideas and values affected the outcome of the New England colonies in several ways such as the creation of new colonies, the development of towns, the way children were raised, the right to vote, and the right to go to war....   [tags: Puritan, Massachusetts, Christianity, Puritanism]

Better Essays
1494 words (4.3 pages)

Differences in the Development of New England and the Chesapeake Region

- Differences in the Development of New England and the Chesapeake Region Question: Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled largely by people of English origin, by 1700 the regions had evolved into two distinct societies. Why did this difference in development occur. By the 1700s the two regions, New England and Chesapeake varied greatly in spite of being from the same mother country, England. Physical and cultural differences separated these two regions distinctively. While religion moulded the daily life in New England, Money and tobacco farming dominated the Chesapeake....   [tags: English History England Settlement Essays]

Better Essays
797 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about The Existence of Social Issue in 1850-1914

- Throughout the years of 1850-1914, many countries faced social unjust through political and economic issues that were brought on by the industrialization of cities within Europe. Before the mid-18th century signs of social unjust would develop and spread too many countries. Although the technological advancement the revolution brought, allowed humans to no longer be limited to what they can achieve by the land. Now they would be limited to what the machine would allow them to achieve. Due to this, ability Europe prospered during the mid-18th century economically but all social classes didn’t reap the benefits of this prosperity....   [tags: Social Injustice, Political and Economic Issues]

Better Essays
1435 words (4.1 pages)

England During The 19th Century Essay

- During the 19th and early 20th centuries, England underwent vital and irreversible economic, political, social and industrial changes which revealed that England’s strength lay not in its military but in its economic capabilities. During this time England built a powerful trading system and generated the credit necessary to pay for a relatively small navy that protected and extended the trading system and destroyed those of its competition. At the same time, England was able to raise the funds to finance the ground-breaking industrial technology that launched England ahead of its rivals lasting more than half a century....   [tags: Social class, Working class, Middle class]

Better Essays
1440 words (4.1 pages)

Jane Elton's Identity Conflict in Catherine Maria Sedgwick’s A New England Tale

- Jane Elton's Identity Conflict in Catherine Maria Sedgwick’s A New England Tale In her article “‘But is it any good?’: Evaluating Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Fiction,” Susan Harris provides methods and criteria for examining Women’s Fiction in what she calls “process analysis” (45). To apply Harris’ guidelines to Catherine Maria Sedgwick’s A New England Tale, I must first “acknowledge the ideological basis of [my] endeavor” (45) as a feminist/equalitist critique of the text. Furthermore, I identify the three-fold approach that Harris describes as historical, in distinguishing early nineteenth-century from mid- to late-century attitudes, rhetorical, in labeling Sedgwick’s communicat...   [tags: New England Tale Essays]

Better Essays
2005 words (5.7 pages)

Daniel Elazar, Bogus or Brilliant: A Study of Political Culture Across the American States

- Daniel Elazar, Bogus or Brilliant: A Study of Political Culture Across the American States American states each have individual political cultures which are important to our understanding of their political environments, behavior, and responses to particular issues. While voters probably do not consciously think about political culture and conform to that culture on election day, they seem to form cohesive clusters in different areas of the state, creating similar group political ideologies. Because of these similarities, it is possible to measure the dominant political culture within states or areas of a state, gaining insight into the mind-set of state residents....   [tags: Politics Political Science Essays]

Free Essays
6107 words (17.4 pages)

Social, Political and Economic Effects of WWI Essay

- Social, Political and Economic Effects of WWI "Everywhere in the world was heard the sound of things breaking." Advanced European societies could not support long wars or so many thought prior to World War I. They were right in a way. The societies could not support a long war unchanged. The First World War left no aspect of European civilization untouched as pre-war governments were transformed to fight total war. The war metamorphed Europe socially, politicaly, economically, and intellectualy....   [tags: World War I History]

Free Essays
2176 words (6.2 pages)