|Fireman with Abandoned Child in the Snow JLM|
|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.