Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Finding value in their integrity and accomplishment, Dalrymple praises one of his late publishers, Tom Rosenthal, and the painters L.S. Lowry and William Turner, in New English Review:

The evening light glints red upon the chimney (which belches thick black smoke) and on the chimneys of one row of the houses, suffusing even this superficially grim scene with a refulgent beauty. And in the street is a man, a lone figure, in a blue cloth cap, carrying a small ladder, on the side of the street opposite him standing a bucket. One presumes he is a window-cleaner, which in itself suggests something moving: that the inhabitants of these tiny houses, by today’s standards very poor, took a pride in keeping their houses clean despite the constant outpouring of thick black smoke above them. And indeed in those days women of the working class would regularly scrub the doorsteps of their houses, to demonstrate their cleanliness. Poverty is not itself inimical to a proper pride and self-respect.

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