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This painting shows a group of infantrymen recruiting for the Volunteer Movement which swept Britain between 1859 and 1860. It was fuelled by the revolutions in Continental Europe in 1848 and British mistrust of France.As Houghton shows in this painting, the volunteers were mainly recruited from the middle classes. They felt it was their patriotic duty to enlist in one of the volunteer battalions. But there appears to be a general lack of interest from the civilians in this painting. The gentleman on the left is carefully not looking at the soldiers.

July 2007