Drunkard's wife

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Drunkards Wife, 1860 by John Arg. Oils on panel from the Town Hall collection. Exterior scene of an inn with a woman wearing a brown dress watching anxiously while her husband lurches through a yard with a companion. Most Victorian art has little reference to the day-to-day struggle for existence experienced by a large proportion of the population. However, during the era of the Temperance Movement, art was very influential and many pictures show poverty as a result of drunkenness. The fear that excessive drinking would lead husbands to abandon their wives and children was a common theme and is highlighted in this painting. Women were frequently depicted as the bearer of burdens and as a symbol of dutiful suffering. This painting is a reflection of a wide gap that existed between male and female expectations in the 19th Century. Restoration of the painting was sponsored by TSB Bank in 1994. (Sophie Gorman, 2009)
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