4_The_pinch_of_poverty by Thomas_B._Kennington

The Pinch of PovertyThomas Benjamin Kennington, 1891

Thomas Kennington (1856-1916) was born in Grimsby in Lincolnshire, and studied art first in London and then in Paris. He returned to England after his studies and set up a studio in Chelsea. A highly-accomplished figure painter, he became known both for his idealized domestic scenes and his social realist paintings. These latter sought to depict the plight of the poor – orphans, homeless people, hungry families trying to scrape a living by selling street goods – in a way that played on the consciences and emotions of the onlookers.


Thomas Kennington [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • Is this painting depicting the era in which it was painted, or another era?
  • Did you think the person you chose to look at was isolated or interacting with the other people in the painting?
  • What event would you have liked to visit on this person?
  • How might it change the way the painter depicted the scene in your imagination?
  • How do you feel now you’ve completed this activity? If you enjoyed it, why not add more Look at Paintings audio guides to your week? And don’t forget, you can take these guides with you to your local gallery and try them whilst standing in front of ‘real life’ art