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The final scene in this series of three paintings is set under the Adelphi arches, by the River Thames. The Art Journal described them as ‘the lowest of all the profound deeps of human abandonment in this metropolis’. The woman shelters a young child, the result of her affair. The posters behind her advertise two plays – Victims and The Cure for Love – and ‘Pleasure excursions to Paris’. These are ironic comments on her situation. This is a social moralist series of paintings but it is left to the viewer to decide whether the woman is to be pitied or condemned.

July 2007