T L Busby’s Costume Of The Lower Orders
In spite of the title, there is an encouraging lack of subservience among T L Busby’s lively portraits of the Lower Orders from 1820, which suggests the description may be taken as economic rather than pejorative. Only the beggar woman looks defeated, while the rest are rapt with their intent upon turning a shilling and return our gaze with an eager expectation of doing business, irrespective of their ragged attire. Drawing upon Marcellus Laroon’s Cries of London of one hundred and fifty years earlier, this series certainly make a vivid contrast with Richard Dighton’s City Characters of 1824, who sport a superior quality of tailoring, yet many of whom are almost comatose by comparison with the quick life possessed of these street-wise Lower Orders.
The Waterman displays his Doggett’s badge, awarded every year since 1715 to winners of the race held on the Thames in July
Images courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute
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