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The engraving shows maybe 20 or more men working on making a railway cutting. In the background men are digging away at the ground; at centre, they lod the dirt onto a railway truck (US: a railroad waggon); a horse waits nearby to drag the full cart away. In the foreground is a man presumably raking the gravel between the rails, and another just looking busy, in the nature of workmen everywhere.
A very praisewothy resolution is Mr. E. Buckman’s to show modern every-day pursuits in their real picturesqueness. This year he has chosen the felicitous subject of a railway cutting with the navvies at work, and he enforces this idea by the quotation of a line of poetry—a practice which is fast decreasing with the increase of poetry in the pictures; not that Mr. Buckman’s work lacks sufficient suggestiveness in itself. The attitudes are from nature; even such simple things cannot be imagined, but must be taken from life if they are to look true.” (p. 118)
Edwin Buckman (1841 – 1930) was one of the artists involved in The Graphic, a magazine started W. L. THomas in 1870. He was also a tutor to the Princess of Wales (later Queen Victoria). The wood engraving was done by someone called “Hooper” but that is all I have.