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Irish Immigrants

Photo credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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1845 to 1849 were years of severe famine in Ireland. The staple food crop – potatoes – was destroyed by disease. Many Irish people emigrated, as they simply could not feed themselves or their families. Dozens came to the Bath area, and the issue of how to house, employ and feed them was a topic of much public debate.

Bath artist John Joseph Barker has made the subject more wholesome than it would actually have been. The family, although ragged and barefoot, looks well-fed and healthy. The artist may have used his own children as models rather than real emigrants.

Victoria Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 255 x W 185.2 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1909.18

Acquisition method

gift from Alfred Jones, 1909

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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