Bartholomew Fair

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Item Description: 

St. Bartholomew’s Fair was one of the highlights of the London social season, drawing crowds from all strati of society. This extreme mixing of classes, particularly the masses of the lower classes, however was seen as a dangerous producer of disorder and vice. The drinking stalls overflow with drunks; one man, passed out, is being robbed. Even the amusements are tinged with impropriety: women and men dance with glasses and a bottle in hand, and the boat swings overturn the riders. As a site of extreme social mixing and of moral chaos, Bartholomew Fair provides an improper mode of viewing and interaction, lacking positive effects for the fairgoer and society in general. The sights to see are neither the artistic dramatic works nor the fashionable display of people at the theater, but rather the chaos of people and amusements tinged with vice.