London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of Street art.


THE artists who work for the street-sellers are less numerous than the poets for the same trade. Indeed, there is now but man who can be said to be a street-artist. The inopportune illustration of ballads of which specimens have already been given—or of any of the street papers—are the work of cheap wood-engravers, who give the execution of these orders to their boys. But it is not often that illustrations are prepared expressly for anything but what I have described as "Gallows literature." Of these, samples have also been furnished. The of a real murder, and the other of a fabulous , or "cock," together with a sample (in the case of Mr. Patrick Connor) of the portraits given in such productions. The cuts for the heading of ballads are very often such as have been used for the illustration of other works. and are "picked up cheap."

The artist who works especially for the street trade—as in the case of the man who paints the patterers' boards—must address his art plainly to the eye of the spectator. He must use the most striking colours, be profuse in the application of scarlet, light blue, orange—not yellow I was told, it ain't a good candlelight colour— and must leave nothing to the imagination. Perspective and back-grounds are things of but minor consideration. Everything must be sacrificed for effect.

These paintings are in water colours, and are rubbed over with a solution of some gum-resin to protect them from the influence of rainy weather. of the subjects most in demand of late for the patterers' boards were "the Sloanes" and "the Mannings." The treatment of Jane Wilbred was "worked" by boardmen, each with his "illustration" of the subject. The illustrations were in "compartments." In the Mr. and Mrs. Sloane are "picking out" the girl from a line of workhouse children. She is represented as plump and healthy, but with a stupid expression of countenance. In another compartment, Sloane is beating the girl, then attenuated and wretched-looking, with a shoe, while his wife and Miss Devaux (a name I generally heard pronounced among the street-people as it is spelt to an English reader) look approvingly on. The next picture was Sloane compelling the girl to swallow filth. The represented her as in the hospital, with her ribs protruding from her wasted body —"just as I've worked Sarah Simpole," said a patterer, "who was confined in a cellar and fed on 'tato peels. Sarah was a cock, sir, and a ripper." Then came the attack of the people on Sloane, old woman dressed after the fashion of Mrs. Gamp, "prodding" him with a huge and very green umbrella. The and last was, as usual, the trial.

I have described the "Sloanes' board" , as it may be more fresh in the remembrance of any reader observant of such things. In the "Mannings' board" there were the same number of compartments as in the Sloanes'; showing the circumstances of the murder, the discovery of the body of Connor, the trial, &c. standing patterer, who worked a Mannings' board, told me that the picture of Mrs. Manning, beautifully "dressed for dinner" in black satin, with "a low front," firing a pistol at Connor, who was "washing himself," while Manning, in his shirt sleeves, looked on in evident alarm, was greatly admired, especially out of town. "The people said," observed the patterer, "'O, look at him a-washing hisself; he's a doing it so nattral, and ain't a-thinking he's a-going to be murdered. But was he really so ugly as that? Lor! such a beautiful woman to have to do with


him.' You see, sir, Connor weren't flattered, and perhaps Mrs. Manning was. I have heard the same sort of remarks both in town and country. I patters hard on the women such times, as I points them out on my board in murders or any crimes. I says: 'When there's mischief a woman's always the . Look at Mrs. Manning there on that werry board—the work of of the artists in London—it's a faithful likeness, taken from life at of her examinations, look at She fires the pistol, as you can see, and her husband was her tool.' I said, too, that Sloane was Mrs. Sloane's tool. It answers best, sir, in my opinion, going on that patter. The men likes it, and the women doesn't object, for they'll say: 'Well, when a woman is bad, she bad, and is a disgrace to her sex.' There's the board before them when I runs on that line of patter, and when I appeals to the 'lustration, it seems to cooper the thing. They believe their eyes."

When there is "a run" on any particular subject, there are occasionally jarrings—I was informed by a "boardman"—between the artist and his street-customers. The standing patterers want "something more original" than their fellows, especially if they are likely to work in the same locality, while the artist prefers a faithful copy of what he has already executed. The artist, moreover, and with all reasonableness, will say: "Why, you must have the facts. Do you want me to make Eliza Chestney killing Rush?" The matter is often compromised by some change being introduced, and by the characters being differently dressed. man told me, that in town and country he had seen Mrs. Jermy shot in the following costumes, "in light green welwet, sky-blue satin, crimson silk, and vite muslin." It was the same with Mrs. Manning.

For the last or years, I am told, the artist in question has prepared all the boards in demand. Previously, the standing patterers prepared their own boards, when they fancied themselves capable of such a "reach of art," or had them done by some unemployed painter, whom they might fall in with at a lodging-house, or elsewhere. This is rarely done now, I am told; not perhaps more than times in a twelvemonth, and when done it is most frequently practised of "cock-boards;" for, as was said to me, "if a man thinks he's getting up a fakement likely to take, and wants a board to help him on with it, he'll try and keep it to hisself, and come out with it quite fresh."

The charge of the popular street-artist for the painting of a board is or , according to the simplicity or elaborateness of the details; the board itself is provided by the artist's employer. The demand for this peculiar branch of street art is very irregular, depending entirely upon whether anything be "up" or not; that is, whether there has or has not been perpetrated any act of atrocity, which has riveted, as it is called, the public attention. And so great is the uncertainty felt by the street-folk, whether "the most beautiful murder will take or not," that it is rarely the patterer will order, or the artist will speculate, in anticipation of a demand, upon preparing the painting of any event, until satisfied that it has become "popular." A deed of more than usual daring, deceit, or mystery, may be at once hailed by those connected with murder-patter, as " that will do," and some speculation may be ventured upon; as it was, I am informed, in the cases of Tawell, Rush, and the Mannings; but these are merely exceptional. Thus, if the artist have a dozen boards ordered "for this days, he may have , or , or none for the next ;" so uncertain, it appears, is all that depends, without intrinsic merit, on mere popular applause.

I am unable to give—owing to the want of account-books, &c., which I have so often had to refer to as characteristic of street-people— a precise account of the average number of boards thus prepared in a year. Perhaps it may be as close to the fact as possible to conclude that the artist in question, who, unlike the majority of the street-poets, is not a street-seller, but works, as a professional man, but not the streets, realises on his boards a profit of weekly. The pictorial productions for street-shows will be more appropriately described in the account of street-performers and showmen.

This artist, as I have shown concerning some of the street-professors of the sister art of poesy, has the quality of knowing how to adapt his works exactly to the taste of his patrons the sellers, and of their patrons, the buyers in the streets.

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 Title Page
 The Street-Folk: Of Wandering Tribes in General
 Of the Wandering Tribes of this Country
 Of the London Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Varieties of Street-Folk in General, and Costermongers in Particular
Of Costermongering Mechanics
Ancient Calling of Costermongers
Of the Obsolete Cries of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers 'Economically' Considered
The London Street Markets on a Saturday Night
The Sunday Morning Markets
Habits and amusements of Costermongers
Gambling of Costermongers
'Vic Gallery'
The Politics of Costermongers.-- Policemen
Marriage and Concubinage of Costermongers
Religion of Costermongers
Of the Uneducated State of Costermongers
Language of Costermongers
Of the Nicknames of Costermongers
Of the Education of Costermongers' Children
The Literature of Costermongers
Of the Honesty of Costermongers
Of the Conveyances of the Costermongers and Other Street-Sellers
Of the 'Smithfield Races'
Of the Donkeys of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers' Capital
Of the 'Slang' Weights and Measures
Of Half Profits
Of the Boys of the Costermongers, and their Bunts
Of the Juvenile Trading of the Costermongers
Of the Education of the 'Coster-Lads'
The Life of a Coster-Lad
Of the 'Penny Gaff'
Of the Coster-Girls
The Life of a Coster Girl
Of Costermongers and Thieves
Of the More Provident Costermongers
Of the Homes of the Costermongers
Of the Dress of the Costermongers
Once Try You'll Come Again
Of the Diet and Drink of Costermongers
Of the Cries, Rounds, and Days of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers on their Country Rounds
Of the Earnings of Costermongers
Of the Capital and Income of the Costermongers
Of the Providence and Improvidence of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers in Bad Weather and During the Cholera
Of the Costermongers' Raffles
Of the Markets and Trade Rights of the Costerongers, and of the Laws Affecting Them
Of the Removals of Costermongers From the Streets
Of the Tricks of Costermongers
Of the Street-Sellers of Fish
Of Sprat-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Fruit and Vegetables
Of the Stationary Street-Sellers of Fish, Fruit, and Vegetables
Of the Street-Irish
Of the Street-Sellers of Game, Poultry (Live and Dead), Rabbits, Butter, Cheese, and Eggs
Of the Sellers of Trees, Shrubs, Flowers (Cut and In Pots), Roots, Seeds, and Branches
Street-Sellers of Green Stuff
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Pea-Soup and Hot Eels
Of the Experience of a Hot-Eel and Pea-Soup Man
Of the Street-Sellers of Pickled Whelks
Of the Customers, Etc., of Pickled Whelk-Sellers
Of the Street Sellers, and of the Preparation of Fried Fish
Of the Experience of a Fried Fish- Seller, and of the Class of Customers
Of the Preparation and Quantity of Sheep's Trotters, and of the Street-Sellers
Statements of Sheep's Trotter Women
Of the Street Trade in Baked Potatoes
Of 'Trotting,' or 'Hawking' Butchers
Of the Experience of a Hawking Butcher
Of the Street-Sellers of Ham-Sandwiches
Of the Experience of a Ham Sandwich- Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Bread
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Green Peas
Of the Experience of a Hot Green Pea Seller
Of Cats' and Dogs'--Meat Dealers
Of the Street-Sale of Drinkables
Of Coffee-Stall Keepers
Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade, &c
Of the Experience and Customers of A Ginger-Beer Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Elder Wine
Of the Street Sale of Peppermint-Water
Of Milk Selling in St. James's Park
Of the Street Sale of Milk
Of the Street-Sale of Curds and Whey
Of the Street-Sellers of Rice-Milk
Of Water-Carriers
Of the Street-Sellers of Pastry and Confectionary
Of Street Piemen
Of the Street-Sellers of Boiled Puddings
Of the Street-Sellers of Plum 'Duff' or Dough
Of the Street-Sellers of Cakes, Tarts, &c.
Of Other Cake-Sellers in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Gingerbread- Nuts, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot-Cross Buns, and of Chelsea Buns
Of Muffin and Crumpet-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street Sale of Sweet-Stuff
Of the Customers of the Sweet-Stuff Street-Sellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Cough Drops and of Medical Confectionary
'Lohoch de farfara,' the Lohoch of Coltsfoot
Of the Street-Sellers of Ices and of Ice Creams
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Capital, or Stock in Trade, of the Street- Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Income, or 'Takings,' of Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, &c.
Of the Former and Present Street- Patterers
Of the Habits, Opinions, Morals, and Religion of Patterers Generally
Of the Publishers and authors of Street-Literature
Of Long Song-Sellers
Of Running Patterers
Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Recent Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Chaunters
Of the Experience of a Chaunter
Of the Death and Fire Hunters
Of the Sellers of Second Editions
Of the Standing Patterers
Experience of a Standing Patterer
Of Political Litanies, Dialogues, etc.
Of 'Cocks,' Etc.
Of 'Strawing'
Of the Sham indecent Street-Trade
Of Religious Tract Sellers
Of a Benefit Society of Patterers
Of the Abodes, Tricks, Marriage, Character, and Characteristics of the Different Grades of Patterers
Of the Low Lodging-Houses of London
Of the Filth, Dishonesty, and Immorality of Low Lodging-Houses
Of the Children in Low Lodging- Houses
Of the Low Lodging-Houses Throughout the Country
Of the Street Stationers, and the Street Card-Sellers
Of the Seller of the Penny Short-Hand Cards
The Lecture
'I perish with hunger'
Of the Sellers of Race Cards and Lists
Of the Street-Sellers of Gelatine, of Engraved, and of Playing Cards, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Experience of a Street- Stationer
Of a 'Reduced' Gentlewoman, and a 'Reduced' Tradesman, as Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Street-Sale of Memorandum- Books and Almanacks
Of the Street-Sale of Pocket-Books and Diaries
Of the Street-Sellers of Songs
Of the Street 'Pinners-up,' or Wall Song-Sellers
Of Ancient and Modern Street Ballad Minstrelsy
Of Street 'Ballads on a Subject'
Of the Street Poets and Authors
Of the Experience of a Street Author, or Poet
Of the Street-Sellers of Broad-Sheets
Of the 'Gallows' Literature of the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Conundrums
Of the Street-Sellers of Comic Exhibitions, Magical Delusions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Play-Bills
Of the Street-Sellers of Periodicals, Pamphlets, Tracts, Books, Etc.
Of the Street-Sale of Back Numbers
Of the Sale of Waste Newspapers at Billingsgate
Of the Sale of Periodicals on the Steam- Boats and Steam-Boat Piers
Of the Sale of Newspapers, Books, &c., at the Railway Stations
Of the Street Booksellers
Of the Character of Books of the Street-Sale
Of the Experience of a Street Book- Seller
Of Street Book-Auctioneers
Of the Street-Sale of Song-Books, and of Children's Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Account-Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Guide-Books, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Fine Arts
Of Street Art
Of the Street-Sellers of Engravings, Etc., in Umbrellas, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pictures in Frames
Of the Street-Sellers of Manuscript and Other Music
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Capital or Value of the Stock-in-Trade of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature and the Fine Arts
Income, or Average Annual 'Takings,' of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
An Epitome of the Pattering Class
Of the 'Screevers,' or Writers of Begging-Letters and Petitions
'God Save the Queen'
Of the Probable Means of Reformation
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles in Metal
Of the Cheap Johns, or Street Han- Sellers
'The Original Cheap John'
The Crippled Street-Seller of Nut- Meg-Graters
Of the Swag-Shops of the Metropolis
Shopkeepers and Dealers Supplied with the Following Articles --
Of the Life of a Cheap-John
The Street-Sellers of Cutlery
Of the Blind Street-Sellers of Tailors' Needles, etc.
The Public-House Hawkers of Metal Spoons, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Jewellery
Of the Pedlar-Jewellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Card-Counters, Medals, Etc.
The Construction is of Iron and of Glass, 1848 Feet Long. about Half is 456 Wide. the Remainder 408 Feet Wide, and 66 Feet High; Site, Upwards of 20 acres. Josh. Paxton, archt.
Of the Street-Sellers of Rings and Sovereigns For Wagers
Of the Street-Sellers of Children's Gilt Watches
Of the Street-Sellers of Tinware
Of the Life of a Tin-Ware Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Dog-Collars
Of the Life of a Street-Seller of Dog- Collars
Of the Street-Sellers of Tools
Of the Beggar Street-Sellers
Pike's Patent Cotton. 120 Yards
'The Lace-Makers' Appeal'
'ALLEN, Printer, Long-row, Nottingham'
Of the 'House of Lords,' a Street-Seller's Defunct Club
Of the Street-Sellers of Crockery and Glass-Wares
Of the 'Swag,' Crockery, and Glass Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Spar and China Ornaments, and of Stone Fruit
Of the Street-Sellers of Textile Fabrics
Of the Haberdashery Swag-Shops
Of Hawkers, Pedlars, and Petty Chapmen
Of the Packmen, or Hawkers of Soft Wares
Statement of a Packman
Of the Tally Packman
Of the 'Duffers' or Hawkers of Pretended Smuggled Goods
Of the Street-Sellers of 'Small-Ware,' or Tape, Cotton, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Lace
Of the Street-Sellers of Japanned Table- Covers
Of the Street-Sellers of Braces, Belts, Hose, Trowser-Straps, and Waistcoats
Of the Street-Sellers of Boot and Stay- Laces, &c.
Of a Blind Female Seller of 'Small-Wares'
The Blind Street-Seller of Boot-Laces
Of the Life of a Blind Boot-Lace Seller
Of the Low Lodging-Houses
Statement of a Young Pickpocket
Statement of a Prostitute
Statement of a Beggar
Meeting of Thieves
Of the Country Lodging-Houses
Of the Street-Sellers of Chemical Articles of Manufacture
Of the Street-Sellers of Blacking, Black Lead, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of French Polish
Of the Street-Sellers of Grease-Removing Compositions
Of the Street-Sellers of Corn-Salve
Of the Street-Sellers of Glass and China Cement, and of Razor Paste
Of the Street-Seller of Crackers and Detonating Balls
Of the Street-Sellers of Lucifer-Matches
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigar Lights, or Fuzees
Of the Street-Sellers of Gutta-Percha Heads
Of the Street-Sellers of Fly-Papers and Beetle-Wafers
Of the Street-Sellers of Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Walking-Sticks
Of the Street-Sellers of Whips, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pipes, and of Snuff and Tobacco Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigars
Of the Street-Sellers of Sponge
Of the Street-Sellers of Wash-Leathers
Of the Street-Sellers of Spectacles and Eye-Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Dolls
Of the 'Swag-Barrowmen,' and 'Lot- Sellers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Roulette Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Poison For Rats
Of the Street-Sellers of Rhubarb and Spice
Of the Hawking of Tea
Of the Women Street-Sellers
Of the Children Street-Sellers of London