M930.50.1.94 | Fishing scene on the shore

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Fishing scene on the shore
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
About 1860-1870, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
10.5 x 12.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Genre (188) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

The labels on cans, soap, yeast and other food and household goods-most of them industrial products which working-class consumers could afford-were exceptionally colourful for the time. Red, blue and green were the most popular colours.

Source : A Consuming Passion [Web tour], by Joanne Burgess, Université du Québec à Montréal (see Links)

  • What

    This engraving is part of a label designed for a tin of mackerel. It is essentially decorative.

  • Where

    The artist has composed a picturesque, romantic scene. It could be anywhere on the North Atlantic coast. We see women on the shoreline in the foreground and fishing boats off in the distance.

  • When

    The fishermen are returning after a day at sea. The wicker baskets brimming with fish indicate that the catch was good.

  • Who

    Women played a vital role in getting the fish ready to be sold at market. They prepared fish like cod to be dried, and mackerel and salmon to be canned.