Millais, John Everett (1829-1896), 'The Bridge of Sighs', Etching, 1858

'The Bridge of Sighs', Etching, 1858

Printed on chine appliqué. As published in 'Passages from the Poems of Thomas Hood Illustrated by the Junior Etching Club', London, 1858.

"This etching shows a young woman standing on the bank of the Thames. Her expression is one of despair, and she appears to be holding a baby in the folds of her voluminous black cloak. The etching was made as an illustration to Thomas Hood's poem 'The Bridge of Sighs'. The tall Victoria Bridge was popularly known as the 'Bridge of Sighs' because so many people chose to commit suicide there. Young women, especially unmarried mothers or prostitutes, often chose suicide as the only way to escape shame and destitution." - quotation V & A

The etching illustrates the following stanza:

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement
Houseless by Night.

Image Size 11.7 x 9.3 cm
Plate Size 17.7 x 12.5 cm
Paper Size 43.1 x 29.4 cm
References Hartnoll and Eyre 22; Walker Art Gallery Liverpool/Royal Academy of Arts London 1962 No. 119

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