The Coal Breaker

Joseph Pennell, 1908

WAG 1780

About this object

Pennell greatly admired how “Rembrandt saw beauty in his father’s mills”. Rembrandt (1606-69) regarded windmills in the same way he saw ancient temples, as great structures of design, industry and power. This towering coal-breaker is shown at height. Pennell is making a direct comparison between Rembrandt’s mill and the modern day factory in this etching. He is assigning the coal-breaker the same authority and status as an ancient temple.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    The Coal Breaker (The things that tower : Collieries)
  • Artist(s)
    Joseph Pennell (American, born:1857-07-04, died:1926-04-23)
  • Date
  • Materials
    Etching; Paper
  • Measurements
    plate mark: 20.4 cm x 28.1 cm
  • Physical description
    View of a coal mine with smoking chimneys at left and railway track in the foreground beside tree stumps.
  • Related people
    Joseph Pennell (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 1780; Accession Number: WAG 1780
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery from the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition in 1909
  • Location
    Sudley House, First Floor, Special Exhibitions Room
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: J Pennell imp
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
Object view = Fine Art
Page load time: 104 ms