frame: 2010 x 2270 x 165 mm
Haydon had ambitions to be a history painter, but after some early successes struggled to find patrons or public support for his huge canvases of noble themes from history or scripture. In the late 1820s, after repeatedly falling into debt and even being imprisoned, he painted several subjects of contemporary life that he hoped would be more commercial. This richly detailed composition is intended to capture the energy of contemporary London. A crowd mingles with a costumed procession in the Marylebone Road. Haydon thought of calling this picture simply ‘Life’, suggesting that he retained a sense of ambition even in painting such a lowly subject.