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A futuristic vision: technology is over-sophisticated, and the masses devote themselves to intellectual pursuits, while the basic needs of society are neglected. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828, after F.A.

  • A., F., active 1828.
Date
Jany. 23 1828
Reference
36373i
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view A futuristic vision: technology is over-sophisticated, and the masses devote themselves to intellectual pursuits, while the basic needs of society are neglected. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828, after F.A.

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Credit: A futuristic vision: technology is over-sophisticated, and the masses devote themselves to intellectual pursuits, while the basic needs of society are neglected. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828, after F.A. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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About this work

Description

Signs of technology gone mad: a shop window of enormous size displaying grotesquely oversized hats; a shop so tall that the customers have to be winched up seated on an escalator; a bridge over the Channel and a tunnel beneath it, the latter collapsing; aerial bombardment from a battleship held up by balloons; an airship colliding with the moon; gas street lighting substituted for the sun; the street is full of mud because the street sweeper walks on stilts and does not need it to be cleared; transport in steam-powered cars

Signs of society collapsing because the masses are devoted to high culture: an apple-seller reads Byron's poems while a boy steals her apples; a butcher and a dustman play chess while a dog runs off with the butcher's meat; a trio of street musicians play concert music instead of popular music; a ballad-singer imitates opera stars; footmen ape their masters but smoke in the streets

Publication/Creation

London (St. James's Street) : G. Humphrey, Jany. 23 1828.

Physical description

1 print : etching, with watercolour ; image 21.3 x 32.6 cm

Lettering

The march of intellect. F.A. Esq. inv. [Paul Pry] del. & sculp.

Creator/production credits

By William Heath using the pseudonym Paul Pry, represented by a vignette of Paul Pry. The designer, "F.A. Esq.", is not identified in the British Museum catalogue (loc. cit.)

References note

British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. XI, London 1954, no. 15604

Lettering note

The "March of intellect" or "March of mind" was a popular phrase in the 1820s and 1830s, used seriously by some, mockingly by others, to denote trust in mass education and technological change to solve the problems of society: see British Museum, op. cit., pp. xliv and 67-68

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 36373i

Type/Technique

Languages

  • English

Subjects


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