Mr. Thompson's Wire Mill, Tintern

Mr. Thompson's Wire Mill, Tintern

1807
James Ward
1769-1859
Graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 16 x 25 1/2 inches (40.6 x 64.8 cm)

Tintern was the site of the first British wire mill, established by the Company of Mineral and Battery Works in 1568 for the production of iron wire. By the early nineteenth century, the region abounded with mills such as the one depicted here. Wire production in Tintern thrived due to convenient transportation along the river Wye, ample raw materials in the surrounding countryside, and waterpower provided by streams like the one seen here. Ward probably made this graphite drawing on the spot, as he has included five lines of shorthand notes in the lower right, which might be directions for future development of the drawing. He pays careful attention to the minutiae of the scene, with its crumbling walls, missing tiles, and loops of wire in the foreground, adeptly casting this industrial scene as a location of the picturesque.

B1975.3.198
Inscribed in brown ink, lower left: "1807 JWD. RA"; in graphite, lower left: "1807"; in graphite, lower right: "Mr. Thompson's Wire Mill"; in graphite, lower right, five lines of shorthand notes.
T.E.L. collector's stamp on bottom left
Signed and dated in brown ink, lower left: "1807 JWD. RA"; in graphite, lower left: "1807"
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection