The Poor Man’s Friend

The Poor Man’s Friend

John Leech

Wood engraving by Joseph Swain

9½ x 7 inches

Punch 8 (January–June 1845): facing 92.

This image typifies Leech at his most outspoken, representing the magazine’s social critique of the living conditions of the poor in the 1840s. Leech travesties the conventions of the ‘good death’, showing how representations of the gentle passing are sentimental and misleading. Instead, he shows the physical privations and despair of the unemployed working classes. [See below for commentary.]

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Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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