Love and Dirt: The Marriage of Arthur Munby and Ha Diane Atkinson
A riveting account of an extraordinary Victorian love affair between a servant and her master.On 26th May 1854, Arthur Munby met Hannah Cullwick, the day after her twenty-first birthday. He was a solicitor, working for the Ecclesiastical Commission, a job he loathed. She was a servant, a maid of all work. This first encounter marked the beginning of a relationship which was to endure for more than fifty years. Both of them kept diaries and letters were exchanged throughout their clandestine love affair. Drawing on these extraordinary documents, and Munby's remarkable photographs of Hannah, all of which catalogue a tale of sexual obsession - Munby adored seeing Hannah 'in her dirt' from scrubbing steps and cleaning chimneys and she reciprocated with a literally slavish devotion - Diane Atkinson paints a picture of the wilder shores of Victorian sexuality. But LOVE AND DIRT is much more than that; it is also the story of a deep and lasting love between two extraordinary individuals which breached the barriers of class and intellect that could have divided them and which meant that even after they married they had to keep the relationship hidden from their families and friends.