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Begging for AlmsEnlarge image

Begging for Alms, c. 1805

Thomas Rowlandson
British, 1756 - 1827
pen and reddish-brown ink with watercolour over graphite on wove paper, laid down on greenish-grey laid paper
30.4 x 22.3 cm
Purchased 1925
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3234)

When he wasn't lampooning the buffoonery of the lower classes, Rowlandson turned his satiric attention to the wicked excesses of the upper classes. Here, a man of ample means brushes away a destitute mother of two. With her exposed breast and clinging infants, the woman looks ironically like the traditional symbol of Christian charity.

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