Rich and Poor at Blackburn's Cotton Exchange

In the museum in Blackburn is a large, striking oil painting. Vladimir Sherwood depicted the Cotton Exchange's foundations being laid in 1862. In the foreground are the town's leading politicians and cotton kings. They are carefully painted, for they are meant to be recognised. In the background are the masses. These are the folk who worked the very cotton mills that made these businessmen rich. Sherwood never felt the need to properly depict them; their faces are blurred and hidden. 

History, like art, is dominated by the rich and powerful. They wrote things down. They constructed buildings. They made treaties and alliances. The voices of the masses seldom speak to us from down the ages. Solomon, one of Israel's richest men, wrote:
Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
Proverbs 22:2. 
Soon after the painting's completion, the cotton industry was seriously hurt by the American North's embargo on the South's cotton exports. The Cotton Exchange never was finished. The rich and poor also have this in common: poverty is not far from either.