From Under The Sea
View of Botallack Mine on a cliff-side in St. Just, Cornwall. To the left, three miners can be seen in a mining carriage, which has just ascended from the mine shaft below; the entrance to which is cut into the cliff face at the end of a sloping track. Two of the miners are seated in the cart, while the third has started to climb out. All three wear helmets with candles attached. On the right, a young woman stands watching, waiting for their arrival, a young girl, in a red dress and white pinafore, in her arms, another seated on the ground at her feet. Beside the child is a metal flask and food wrapped in fabric. The rocky cliffs sit high above the mine shaft, and a wooden pulley is placed on top. A small sailing boat is visible out to sea in the distance, and to the left a lone gull glides across the blue cloudy sky.
Gallery text panel Life and Landscape High-Victorian Social and Rural Subjects The Pre-Raphaelite interest in modern life was paralleled by a more general demand for contemporary subjects. The Victorians' fascination with their growing world of new social types and changing patterns of behaviour is particularly echoed in their love of crowd scenes. Some artists tried to highlight the darker side of society by focusing on the plight of the less well off. Yet representations of the working class and unemployed are usually idealised or softened by sentimental treatment. The wealthier classes provided more popular themes in art: high society is often both celebrated and analysed in paintings of domestic interiors and social engagements. Depictions of the city and industrial activity are rare. In an age of urban degradation and mass poverty collectors sought escapism more than social reflection, which gave rise to an unparalleled market for landscapes. Typically extreme in evoking serenity or bleakness, their appeal often revolves around open-ended narratives and the presence or suggestion of human activity.
From Under The Sea
Canvas: sight: 108.2cm x 82.6cm
Frame: External: 140.4cm x 115.7cm
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery