The Parting Cheer
This large-scale painting, both ambitious and complex in conception, is the key mid 19th century image addressing emigration. Rich in interpretative material, it focuses on the reactions of those left behind on shore. The scene is set along the Thames although the artist has deliberately denied a precise geographical location. Groups of figures, in a mix of gender and social class, are shown on the quayside as an emigrant ship departs on the far right. Red and blue shirted sailors are shown cheering from the deck of the ship and from the sides of the rigging. Partly in shadow, a group of emigrants look out from the deck below.
Henry Nelson O'Neil
- Image reference: F3201
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Purchased with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Arts Collection Fund and the Friends of the National Maritime Museum, 2004.
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