London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Pictures in Frames.


FROM about , or somewhat earlier, down to , or somewhat later, the street-sale of pictures in frames was almost entirely in the hands of the Jews. The subjects were then nearly all scriptural: "The Offering up of Isaac;" "Jacob's Dream;" "The Crossing of the Red Sea;" "The Death of Sisera;" and "The Killing of Goliath from the Sling of the youthful David." But the Jew traders did not at all account it necessary to confine the subjects of their pictures to the records of the Old—their best trade was in the illustrations of the New Testament. Perhaps the "Stoning of St. Stephen" was their most saleable "picture in a frame." There were also "The Nativity;" "The Slaying of the Children, by order of Herod" (with the quotation of St. Matthew, chap. ii. verse , "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet"); "The Sermon on the Mount;" "The Beheading of John the Baptist;" "The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem;" "The Raising of Lazarus;" "The Betrayal on the part of Judas;" "The Crucifixion;" and "The Conversion of St. Paul." There were others, but these were the principal subjects. All these pictures were coloured, and very deeply coloured. St. Stephen was stoned in the lightest of sky-blue short mantles. The pictures were sold in the streets of London, mostly in the way of hawking; but times as extensively, I am told, in the country, as in town. Indeed, at the present time, many a secluded village alehouse has its parlour walls decorated with these scriptural illustrations, which seem to have superseded

The pictures placed for ornament and use;

The twelve good rules; the royal game of goose,

mentioned by Goldsmith as characteristic of a village inn. These "Jew pictures" are now yielding to others.

Most of these articles were varnished, and or each was frequently the price asked, being taken "if no better could be done," and sometimes A smaller amount per single picture was always taken, if a set were purchased. These productions were prepared principally for street-sale and for hawkers. The frames were narrower and meaner-looking than in the present street-pictures of the kind; they were stained like the present frames, in imitation of maple, but far less skilfully. Sometimes they were a black japan; sometimes a sorry imitation of mahogany.

In the excitement of the Reform Bill era, the street-pictures in frames most in demand were Earl Grey, Earl Spencer's (or Lord Althorp), Lord Brougham's, and Lord John Russell's. O'Connell's also "sold well," as did William IV. "Queen Adelaide," I was told, "went off middling, not much more than half as good as William." Towards the close of King William's life, the portraits of the Princess Victoria of Kent were of good sale in the streets, and her Royal Highness was certainly represented as a young lady of undue plumpness, and had hardly justice done to her portraiture. The Duchess of Kent, also, I was informed, "sold fairish in the streets." In a little time, the picture in a frame of the Princess Victoria of Kent, with merely an alteration in the title, became available as Queen Victoria I., of Great and Ireland. Since that period, there have been the princes and princesses, her Majesty's offspring, who present a strong family resemblance.

The street pictures, so to speak, are not unfrequently of a religious character. Pictures of the Virgin and Child, of the Saviour seated at the Last Supper, of the Crucifixion, or of the different saints, generally coloured. The principal purchasers of these "religious pictures" are the poorer Irish. I remember seeing, in the course of an inquiry among streetperformers last summer, the entire wall of a poor street-dancer's room, except merely the space occupied by the fireplace, covered with small coloured pictures in frames, the whole of which, the proprietor told me, with some pride, he had picked up in the streets, according as he could spare a few pence. Among them were a crucifix (of bone), and a few medallions, of a religious character, in plaster or wax. This man was of Italian extraction; but I have seen the same thing in the rooms of the Roman Catholic Irish, though never to the same extent.

The general subjects now most in demand for street-sale are, "Lola Montes," "Louis Philippe and his Queen," "The Sailor's Return," "The Soldier's Return," and the "Parting" of the same individuals, Smugglers, in different situations, Poachers also; "Turpin's Ride to York," the divers feats attributed to Jack Sheppard (but less popular than "Turpin's Ride,") "Courtship," "Marriage" (the a couple caressing, and the other bickering), "Father Mathew" (in very black large boots), "Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps," and his "Farewell to his Troops at Fontainebleau," "Scenes of Piracy." None of these subjects are modern; "Lola Montes" (a bold-faced woman, in a riding-


habit), being the newest. "Why," said man familiar with the trade, "there hasn't been no Louis Napoleon in a frame-picture for the streets, nor Cobdens, nor Feargus O'Connors, nor Sir John Franklins; what is wanted for us is something exciting."

The prices of frame-pictures (as I sometimes heard them called) made expressly for streetsale, vary from to a pair. The a pair are about inches by , very rude, and on thin paper, and with frames made of lath-wood (stained), but put together very compactly. The cheaper sorts are of prints bought at the swag-shops, or of waste-dealers, sometimes roughly coloured, and sometimes plain. The greatest sale is of those charged from to the pair.

Some of the higher-priced pictures are painted purposely for the streets, but are always copies of some popular engraving, and their sale is not a of the others. These frame-pictures were, and are, generally got up by a family, the girls taking the management of the paper-work, the boys of the wood. The parents have, many of them, been paper-stainers. This division of labour is reason of the exceeding cheapness of this street branch of the fine arts. These working artists—or whatever they are to be called—also prepare and frame for street-sale the plates given away in the instance with a number of a newspaper or a periodical, and afterwards "to be had for next to nothing." The prevalence of such engravings has tended greatly to diminish the sale of the pictures prepared expressly for the streets.

years ago this trade was times greater than it is now. The principal sale still is, and always was, at the street-markets on Saturday evenings. They are sold piled on a small stall, or carried under the arm. To sell worth on a Saturday night is an extraordinary sale, and is a bad , and the frame-picturer must have "middling patter to set them off at all. 'Twopence a pair!' he'll say; 'only twopence a pair! Who'd be without an ornament to his dwelling?'"

There are now about persons engaged in this sale on a Saturday night, of whom the majority are the artists or preparers of the pictures. On a Monday evening there are about sellers; and not half that number on other evenings—but some "take a round in the suburbs."

If these people take weekly for framepictures the year through, is yearly expended in this way. I estimate the average number at daily. Their profits are about cent. per cent.; boys and working people buy the most. The trade is often promoted by a raffle at a public-house. Many mechanics, I was told, now frame their own pictures.

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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