The Victorians (through painting)


The Victorians is a 2009 BBC One documentary presented by Jeremy Paxman that explores the age through the art of the period, which proves a perfect lens. The four episodes, Painting the Town, Home Sweet Home, Having It All and Dreams and Nightmares gives us the horrors of the period as well as the dreams and aspirations. There are the requisite Turners and Friths and Ford Maddox Brown and the very apocalyptic John Martin.

In the last episode, look for this scene, the pumping station at Crossness, a location that I think is the Victorian era defined. It’s one of the pumping stations that was created for Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer system. Think of it’s use and think how the Victorians glorified it. In our modern age, wouldn’t it be great if we had the same reverence for infrastructure?

The Octagon, Crossness Pumping Station

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