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St James's Fair had taken place since the thirteenth century but by the 1820s it was notorious for the crime and general debauchery it attracted. Samuel Colman, a strict Nonconformist, preaches a very visual sermon contrasting virtue with vice. The house on the left compares middle class domestic contentment with the run-down brothel on the right. Between, there are references to slavery, lost virginity, the transience of beauty, the evils of gambling, theft and deception.
oil on panel
H 87.6 x W 133.9 cm
bequeathed by J. Anthony Bird, 1915