Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hard Times in Dieppe

Away from the bustle of a Cross-Channel port and the casinos and luxury hotels of a fashionable resort, another very different world existed – a literally marginal community whose homes were carved out of the cliff face. Images of destitution and deprivation are uncommon on postcards unless they are simultaneously picturesque and colourful. Not the case here among the cave dwelling fishing community in Dieppe. The fascination here seems to have more to do with the frisson of superiority to be experienced when gazing upon the wretched and dispossessed. They offer intriguing glimpses of a world of hard labour and primitive living conditions. By the time that W R Sickert settled in Dieppe in 1920 he had left behind the sordid and squalid subject matter of Camden Town in favour of café society and casino high-life, otherwise this disadvantaged tribal group might well have attracted his attention. 

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