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With its ready supply of coal and iron ore, Shropshire was at the heart of the acceleration of Britain’s industrial economy from the middle of the eighteenth century. Here, Munn shows a scene of local industry with great attention to detail, both of the buildings and of atmospheric effects. The picture could be said to be an attempt at a kind of industrial version of the Picturesque – the ideal of variety and irregularity which had influenced images of rural life in previous decades.

August 2004