Coal - Abomination of Work, Mahanoy Valley

WAG 671


Coal breakers high on the hilltops above the river valley are obscured by the cloudy sky filled with thick black smoke. Dead tree stumps illustrate the destruction of natural life and the hillsides appear dark emulating the colour of coal. Despite the title of this work, Pennell had no interest in the social or environmental effects of industry. He admired the wonder of work so much that he commented, “While the coming of electricity would make for a cleaner and more healthful environment, it would destroy the city’s picturesqueness by eliminating the smoke”.