Esoteric London

No. 376: Romilly Street, W1

Posted in Graffiti, Pavements by esotericlondon on August 8, 2011

Romilly Street, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

The Morning Chronicle: Labour and the Poor – Henry Mayhew, 1850:

I now come to the street artists. These include the artists in coloured chalks upon the pavements, the black profile-cutters, and the blind paper-cutters.

A spare sad-looking man, very poorly dressed, gave me the following statement. He is well-known by his coloured drawings upon the flag stones:

“I was usher in a school for three years, and had a paralytic stroke, which lost me my employment, and was soon the cause of great poverty. I was fond of drawing, and colouring drawings, when a child, using sixpenny boxes of colours, or the best my parents could procure me, but I never had lessons. I am a self-taught man. When I was reduced to distress, and indeed to starvation, I thought of trying some mode of living, and remembering having seen a man draw mackerel on the flags in the streets of Bristol twenty years ago, I thought I would try what I could do that way. I first tried my hand in the New Kent Road, attempting a likeness of Napoleon, and it was passable, though I can do much better now. I made half-a-crown the first day.”

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