The Casualsdetails

[Picture: The Casuals]
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The Casuals

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The oil painting on which this engraving was based was exhibted under the title, Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward, at the Royal Academy in 1874; it was made to illustrate a scene from Dickens:

“‘Dumb, wet, silent horrors! Sphinxes set up against that dead wall, and none likely to be at the pains of solving them until the general overthrow.”

In the picture there are a line of poor people in Victorian clothing, standing against a dimly-lit wall, some clutching a piece of paper. One has two children next to him and another child barefoot in his arms. In the foreground a woman in a long skirt and a hat holds a paper and is accompanied by a child of perhaps five years of age.

When Charles Dickens selected Mr. Luke Fildes to be the illustrator of the never-completed Edwin Drood,” the great novelist was only giving another instance of the marvellous insight he possessed into character. He saw at a glance, doubtless, that in our present subject he would find a genius that jumped precisely with his own. That he was right must be evident to all who have any

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