Joseph Wright – A Blacksmith’s Shop

Hannah Fox of Derby Museums gave a wonderful talk last night about the rebirth of the Silk Mill. She showed some of the collection, including this picture from their collection of Joseph Wright works. I couldn’t resist posting it here: such a beautiful image of material, and the heroic maker who works it.

A Blacksmith’s Shop Joseph Wright,

A Blacksmith’s Shop,
Joseph Wright

It places the material – white-hot and lighting the faces of the figures in the scene – centrally in the frame, as the object of attention, alluding to the baby Jesus in countless nativity scenes painted before. As Jonathan Wallis, the narrator of this video says, “it’s almost as if industry is the new religion in the 18th Century, replacing the old world with a new bright future.” (skip to this part of the video)