London: E. Gambart & Co 25 Berners St. 1857. First printing. "The Departure – Second Class" and "The Return - First Class" are a pair of moralistic narrative works, a popular genre in Victorian times, and demonstrate the growing trend towards emigration, particularly to Australia. The Victorian artist Abraham Solomon depicts a family traveling second class to a port where the young boy will go to sea in "The Departure". In "The Return" the boy returns as a successful middle aged squatter in the first class carriage with his son and daughter.
Both paintings by Solomon are held in the National Railway Museum UK . Of "The Departure" they write "The painting is a contemporary image of rail travel showing the discomfort of the lower classes traveling in a draughty bench-seated second class carriage. Despite their discomfort this shows how the railways opened up travel to the less wealthy as well as those with money. It also shows how the industry allowed travel nationally and internationally, with the posters in the background advertising passage to Australia highlighting the growing trend of emigration. " (National Railway Museum UK website). The advertising includes ship departures for Port Phillip and Sydney.
Published 4th April 1857 with a stated edition of 225 pairs. Engraved by W.H. Simmons. 26 3/4 x 20 3/4" (image & text) on paper 32 1/4 x 25 1/4". Black & white, as issued. In fine condition. Item #17454