Hunt (Charles) after John Orlando Parry.

Cross-Readings at Charing-Cross,


(With a View of the New National Gallery),
London, W. Soffe, 1836.
a social satire set in the heart of London, on the site of Charing Cross where the old Royal Stables had stood before they were relocated to Buckingham Palace, and the area was very slowly redeveloped as Trafalgar Square. In the foreground, to the right a lady in shawl and bonnet looks on in alarm as two men wearing advertising signs fight each other, one pinching the other’s nose; in the middle a nonchalent delivery boy carries a roast suckling pig on huge platter resting on his head, unaware a man with a large sack held between his knees has removed the lid and is about to steal it; and to the left a man carrying a placard declaring ‘Fall of Nineveh is throws up his hands in horror as a taller man in cape and top hat jabs him in the mouth with an umbrella. The backdrop to this tableau of daily life is a huge hoarding to shield the building site beyond, which doubles as a billboard and is smothered in posters and advertisements for zoological gardens and exotic animals, lectures, beverages, theatrical performances and two for ‘Jim Crow’ and ‘Jump Jim Crow!’, the song performed in blackface by the white American minstrel, Thomas D. Rice, which gained huge popularity in the 1830s, triggering this genre of racial mockery, and led to the term being applied to the harsh laws of racial segregation in the later 19th century. Behind all of this is the nearly completed facade of the third building to house the National Gallery, designed by William Wilkins, shown with scaffolding all around the central dome,.