Stewart Harrison's The Iceberg – The Seamstress

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Stewart Harrison's The Iceberg – The Seamstress, 1860. Artist: John Everett Millais. The Seamstress is an illustration to 'The Iceberg', a story by J Stewart Harrison published in the periodical 'Once A Week'. The story tells of a sailor (Ben) who is attached to a young woman (Esther) and returns from a voyage to discover she has borne a son by another man. The plight of 'fallen women' reduced to piece-work sewing for miserably low pay was first brought to public attention through Thomas Hood's poem 'The Song of the Shirt', published in Punch in 1843.

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