Definitions

sidewalk artist

James William Carling

James William Carling (artist) was born at 38 Addison Street, Liverpool in the Holy Cross parish in 1857.

He was the son of extremely poor Irish parents. From an early age James was known as the ‘little drawer’ and used Liverpool’s street pavements for his art and to beg for money. James attended Holy Cross School.

In 1871, James William Carling (then aged 14) travelled to America to join his elder brother Henry and to attempt to become as successful an artist as Henry. When in America, James supported himself as a sidewalk artist and vaudeville caricaturist before devoting his talents to illustrating the poem "The Raven". The poem's author, Edgar Allan Poe, Carling felt, was the "greatest poet this world has ever seen." Carling's drawings, created in the 1880s, are a graphic visual representation of the images Poe constructed in his poem. The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, USA displays 43 of his illustrations of "The Raven" in what is known as "The Raven Room".

James William Carling returned to Liverpool in 1887 with intentions to further his artwork and career. He died the same year and is buried in a Pauper’s Grave at Walton Park Cemetery.

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