A dry-point etching based on a painting of 1879, for which only a small replica now exists.
Sited in the London docks this complex image shows a woman carrying her child and their possessions, hesitating to take the hand proffered by the man below. This moment highlights the tension in the image, underscoring the woman's precarious situation. Although she and her child are emigrating to find a better life, they are also travelling into the unknown. Drawing on the religious iconography, the composition shows the woman against a dramatic backdrop of masts, ropes and spars. Thus she appears enmeshed and trapped, lacking the independence of movement of the two birds in the rigging on the left.
The theme of emigration and the conditions that forced people to seek a life overseas was a fascinating subject and demonstrated the social awareness of artists such as Tissot.
Jacques Joseph (James) Tissot
- Image reference: B9460
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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