Right from the start of the industrial revolution, artists were fascinated by the factories which glowed red in the night or sent flames leaping up into the night sky – William Blake’s dark satanic mills. Here is a series of paintings on this theme.
Much of that fire has emanated from iron and steel works, whose interiors have also drawn artists – like moths to a flame, we could say.
While the molten metal went on to further working, the slag from the foundries was thrown onto heaps where, still incredibly hot, it glowed sullenly until it had cooled sufficiently.
These slag heaps must have looked quite satanic at night, giving off a deep red glow.
Rolling mills, where molten – or at least red-hot – metal is rolled out, have also been a constant source of artistic inspiration.
Forging, too, has had its enthusiasts.
Moulding has also attracted followers.
I finish with a spray of sparks
and a homage to the men who spent their working lives in those dark satanic mills.
This last picture is an introduction to my next post, which will cover the theme of industrial workers.