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Capital And Labour Cartoon Analysis Essay

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Conditions in the mines: "Captial and Labour" 1843

This cartoon was published in Punch on 29 July 1843. The comment was

'It is gratifying to know that though there is such misery in the coal mines, there is a great deal of luxury results from it'.

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Last modified 4 March, 2016


People in Europe were aware that working-class individuals, including child miners, were supporting the lifestyle of upper-class individuals.  This political cartoon—published in the British magazine, Punch (on July 29, 1843, at page 48)—makes a cutting point with words and images:

It is gratifying to know that though there is such misery in the coal mines, there is a great deal of luxury results from it.

Shallabala (R.J. Hammerton) created this drawing. It is entitled “Capital and Labour.”

To give this political cartoon some context, see Chapter 9 (“Realism and the Urban Poor”) in An Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Art (by Michelle Facos):

By 1848, social tensions in Western Europe, generated by the steadily increasing prosperity of the middle and upper classes and the steadily escalating privation of the working and peasant classes, was exacerbated by massive unemployment and rapidly rising food prices. (Facos, at page 218.)

Click on the image for a much-better view.