Gustave Doré’s East End
I have been thinking about Gustave Doré lately, as the freezing miasma of winter descends upon the city and I struggle to negotiate the excited crowds thronging in the busy streets. Gazing upon the teeming masses in the flickering half-light outside Liverpool St Station, I see his world where deep shadows recede into infinite gloom and I succumb to its terrible beauty.
Doré signed a contract to spend three months in London each year for five years and the completed book of one hundred and eighty engravings with text by Blanchard Jerrold was published in 1872, entitled London – A Pilgrimage. Although he illustrated life in the West End and as well as in the East End, it is Doré’s images of the East End that have always drawn the most attention with their overwhelming sense of diabolic horror and epic drama, in which his figures drift like spectres coalesced from the ether.
In Wentworth St, Spitalfields
In Bluegate Fields
A City Thoroughfare
Inside the Docks
Turn Him Out, Ratcliff
Warehousing in the City
Billingsgate Early Morning
Refuge – Applying For Admittance
Hay Boats On The Thames
Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute
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