Eastward Ho!

This 1857 painting by Henry Nelson O'Neill nicely encapsulates the emotions involved in those engaged in maintaining the Empire. Troops are being sent off to deal with the Indian Mutiny - as stories have reached Britain about the ferocity of the uprising. The fact that women and children had been caught up as victims in the fighting in India was thought to be particularly appalling by Victorians. So, the soldiers are dutifully despatched and the wives and families reluctantly wave them off. The pull of duty against family is particularly strong in this image, but the resolve of what must be done for the greater good of the empire is abundantly clear also.

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by Stephen Luscombe