Monday, August 12, 2013

The End of the Road for an Old Coach, 1850

Monday, August 12, 2013
Isabella reporting,

I didn't want to include this print in today's James Pollard post because it wasn't by Pollard, and because it's so melancholy, even sentimental. But it really does belong near the Pollard paintings, so here it is as a bonus post.

We tend to think that we're the only disposable age, ready to toss out the old technology in favor of new at a moment's notice. But this 1850 print, Past and Present Through Victorian Eyes, shows how swiftly "progress" was already taking hold in the 19th c. as well. While less than twenty years have passed since James Pollard was painting the glories of travel by coach, the once-grand mail coach is now relegated to a make-shift hen-house, its wheels broken and its horses and passengers long departed. In the distance we can see an early Victorian steam engine puffing along with a tidy row of passenger cars in tow, representing the unstoppable future. Yet how many discarded railroad cars now sit in fields and junkyards, having faced the same fate as the old coach? Progress, indeed.

Above: Past and Present Through Victorian Eyes, printed by Leighton Brothers, 1850. Science Museum, London.


Hels said...

People must have woken up every day, battered by new industrial development and technology, and by the speed of change. Plus thinking was changing rapidly as well. Things that had been taken for granted for generations simply didn't apply any longer.

So although I don't find the painting attractive, it was indeed full of change.

Anonymous said...

Unrelated but thought you might be interested:

Mrs Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

It is true that some paintings, especially during this era, are not attractive and I often find myself wondering who would want them on their walls. But they are like the photographs we now use to document social history, and it never ceases to amaze me how much detail and emotion the artists captured on the canvas. Thoughtful post. Minerv x

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