Black Country

Edward Alexander Wadsworth British

Not on view

In 1918, Wadsworth made several trips through the Black Country while traveling between Liverpool and London. Located in England’s West Midlands section, the region received its name in the nineteenth century due to the soot from heavy industry and coal production that covered the area. Wadsworth was fascinated by the scale of manufacturing, especially the effects that its waste (such as slag heaps from coal and air pollution from factories) had on the environment. He printed this powerful scene of fiery iron and steel furnaces and polluted skies on different colored papers. The vivid orange hue of the paper here seems to reflect the tones emitted by the furnaces, echoing American diplomat Elihu Burritt’s earlier statement that, due to its manufacturing, the region was "black by day and red by night."

Black Country, Edward Alexander Wadsworth (British, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire 1889–1949), Woodcut on coated orange paper

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