Saturday, 14 December 2013

Saturday 14th December - Fireman with Abandoned Child in the Snow

There are some days in the run-up towards Christmas when you just need rescuing.  Having been Christmas shopping this morning (saints preserve us!), I think I need someone to carry me about to make it all better...

Fireman with Abandoned Child in the Snow JLM
Well, if you are holding out for a hero, you could do worse than this fine figure of a man.  Look at the superior beard he is sporting!  Not to mention those boots.  Blimey, he's like a superhero.  Look how big he is in comparison to that child.  That is either a tiny wee girl or he is a colossus.  He has a wonderfully stoical expression on his face.  'Oh dear, another fire,' he seems to be thinking, 'Ho hum.'

Fireman Rescuing a Child Unknown Artist
The Victorian period seems to be bestrewn with imperiled children in blazing hovels.  God bless the handsome fellows who batter their way into these slums to deliver unto safety our sleeping urchins and worried-looking dogs.  This fine fellow is in the very act of scooping this poppet to safety in the smoke-obscured bedroom that probably houses forty of his siblings, probably all in the same bed.

The Rescue (1855) J E Millais
The iconic attraction of a fireman is the fact that he is a hero without harm.  Unlike a soldier, the fireman can perform heroic acts without the spectre of having to kill anyone as part of his job.  He will save life without being called upon to take it, and often the lives he seems to save in art are those of children.  The woman in Millais' work does not seem to have maintained a safe distance from the blaze, understandably so.  The mother is in a very awkward position, reaching up to grasp her many and varied kiddiwinks.  Hurrah for the fireman!

A Rescue in Paris (1886) Eugenio Alvarez Dumont
Of course, it wasn't just winsome munchkins that required saving.  Sometimes it was semi-naked ladies who had to be swept up by a shiny-helmeted gentleman with a killer beard.  Really, this is one of the most gorgeous images I have seen for a while.  Gosh, he has ripped his arm out of his uniform with the effort of rescuing the damsel in the rather nice bedspread (artfully draped around her hips, very wise).  Yes, he may have knocked over her pot plant but frankly, he's welcome to knock my pot plant over anytime.  
I'll be waiting in my non-fire-regulation French garret...

See you tomorrow.


  1. Yay! Handome firemen! The French fireman appears to be the most handsome to me... Ahem. I do hope that French lady who has clearly succumbed to smoke inhalation (due to a lack of time-travelling fire-alarms) recovered. Alas for her flat and possessions - those are NICE velvet curtains!

  2. Do you suppose that the flat has spontaneously combusted from the sheer lubricious Frenchness of it all? And has the strapping fireman considerately parcelled her up like that before chucking her down to his colleagues below? Or was that conventional daywear around the house for a mademoiselle during the belle époque? How unlike the home-life of our own dear Queen!

  3. Wonderful - have never seen any of these images before!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx