London: A Pilgrimage By W. Blanchard Jerrold


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'London: A Pilgrimage was conceived in 1868 by the journalist and playwright Blanchard Jerrold. Accompanied by the famous artist Gustave Dore, Jerrold prowled every corner of the heaving metropolis, sometimes with plain clothes police for protection. 'London: A Pilgrimage is a forgotten classic of social journalism, a frank and brutal look at the poverty striken, gin swilling London of the nineteenth century, written in a perceptive, bold and gripping style.

180 incredible etchings by Dore escort Jerrold on his odyssey through the pulsating city, into the Lambeth gas works, seedy opium dens and grubby bathing houses; peering curiously into the desperate lives of the flower sellers, lavender girls and organ grinders. 'London: A Pilgrimage is an enlightening work that brings to life the chaotic and gloomy past of a great city on the cusp of modern times.

Peter Ackroyd's excellent introduction sheds further light on the period and the context in which Jerrold and Dore felt compelled to reveal to the world the squalor into which London was slowly sinking. London: A Pilgrimage

4.5 Illustrations are mind blowingly vivid, beautiful, honest and genuinely moving at points. Makes you empathetic for people who lived over 150 years ago. The descriptions are classic victorian flowery meandering passages which often digress; but they definitely have their moments and play their role in emulating and elevating the illustrations well. Paperback An amazing and evocative peek into Victorian London. Blanchard Jerrold provides the narrative, describing a journey through the city's most famous (and infamous) spots, while Doré's brings these to life with his breath taking illustrations. Paperback I couldn't stay concentrated on the text while reading Jerrolds writing. It seems to go from one point to another without it being a logical story. And this edition is full of typos which makes it even difficult to read 150 years old English for an non native.
ANYWAY the actual reason I bought this book is of course Gustave Doré's illustrations, and they don't disappoint. In fact, they are beyond amazing. They provide a very clear image of all aspects of what London was like in 1872. The busy streets, the means of transport, they show rich and poor parts of the city, work and leisure, fashion Doré is a true master in his profession I admire his play with light and shadows.
So I wouldn't recommend the book for the written report, but recommend it highly for the pictures. Paperback The descriptions are overwrought and meandering (typical for the time period), but the illustrations by Gustave Dore are incredible. We all have a picture of Victorian London from countless movies, but the fact that Dore was actually there shines through in every illustration. What he seems to have been struck by is the sheer number of people crowded streets with upturned carts and shoving in every direction, crowds watching the Oxford and Cambridge rowing teams, dangling from every tree branch over the Thames, street urchins bumping into ladies in piled on gowns and hats. He captures each expression, each gesture, in an endless crowd. His ability to create highlights as well as shadows is unequalled by any other printmaker I know. They don't just cover tourist sites, like some other books I have from the period, but go into the docks and among the homeless, under the bridges and even into the opium dens. I recognized an image of over London by Rail that I had seen before in textbooks, and the final image, of the ruins of ancient London witnessed by some future Maori tourist, was especially striking. Paperback