This is one of a sequence of careful drawings in this book (see also D01630–D01632; Turner Bequest XLI 2, 3, 4) made in response to a commission from Anthony Bacon, of Newbury, Berkshire (1772–1827), noted on a flyleaf of the contemporary Hereford Court sketchbook (Tate D01249; Turner Bequest XXXVIII, opposite inside back cover). Bacon’s father had been responsible for setting up the works on the banks of the River Taf in 1765; Richard Crawshay leased them in 1786, and took over ownership in 1794.
Bacon was, then, understandably concerned to possess a record of an important family achievement that was passing out of his control. By 1806 Cyfarthfa was the largest ironworks in the world, and it continued to expand throughout the nineteenth century, one of the most important early industrial sites in Britain. Afflicted by labour disputes in the 1870s, is converted to steel production in the 1880s, but was virtually abandoned by 1910. It was demolished in 1926. Cyfarthfa Castle, built in the baronial style by William Crawshay II in 1825, survives today. Its grounds are a public park.
The bridge seen in the drawing was built in 1793, cast from the same pattern as the earlier Pont-y-Cafnau.1 It was demolished probably as late as 1960.
See Stephen Hughes, The Newcarnen Bulletin, no.123, August 1982, p.8.
The sheet is stained, with a line of grey-blue paint along the lower edge. A strip of paper 24 mm wide has been pasted along the top edge.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed in a later (twentieth-century) hand in pencil ‘38’.