Wielding an Iron
The ordinary and the mundane holds a continuing fascination and in many ways this is how we lead our lives with humdrum tasks taking up the greater part of our days. Recently I’ve been writing about imaginary events taking place in 19th century London and although there’s a huge amount of material to research on-line, there is very little that provides the texture of life that a photograph like this one taken in Kochi, can convey. Yes, of course, 19th century photography is widely accessible, but it only rarely deals in close up how people went about their routine duties. I suppose that paintings are the best indicator of the textures of life, even though, from Victorian times, many are overly sentimental. Perhaps it’s time to re-appraise such work.
The names of many of these painters may not be very familiar, but they include George Hicks, Willian Powell Frith, George Brown, Frederick Elwell, Charles Spencelayh, William Fletcher and Frank Holl.
Many are the portraits of the ostentatious and the idyllic, but these painters celebrated the mundane and humble and they express the tactile minutia that allows us to know them from afar.