A Farrier's Shop
Standing in the entrance to a farrier's shop are a group of figures, seen against the glow of the forge; the workshop is a rustic building with a wooden front wall and a red tiled roof. Standing outside, seen in profile from the near side, is a grey horse with a rope halter; behind the horse is a basket, shovel and stump of wood; crouching in before the horse's extended front leg is the farrier, with a red jacket worn under his apron. The farrier turns his head to look up towards a man in a white smock standing beside him, behind the man is a dog, possibly a bull-terrier. Beyond the workshop is a building of similar size with a thatched roof and the painted sign of a 'Horse and Jockey' inn suspended by the entranceway; standing outside are a pair of male figures, drinking, partially obscured by a plank fence. In the left foreground, leaning into the composition at an angle, is an oak tree. In the background, to the right of the composition, is a glimpse of the surrounding landscape; the sky is depicted with a rising bank of stormy clouds.
Gallery text panel Face and Place Portraiture and Landscape in the 18th Century A dramatic growth in Britain's wealth during the 1700s brought about an increased demand for art and design. Hundreds of grand houses were built or improved and many were filled with impressive private collections. The prominent display of paintings and decorative arts demonstrated their owners' status and taste. Portraiture became particularly fashionable, leading to rising numbers of 'face painters' and to an increase in the quality of their work. The ability to capture a likeness was most important but artists could also enhance a sitter's image with qualities such as prestige, wisdom or power. New public exhibitions gave artists a shop window and the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, organised the most important annual show. Amid this developing climate of enthusiasm for art, landscape painting also began its remarkable evolution. Landscape arose from a need to accurately record views and was first thought to be of little artistic merit. But as painters grew in confidence during the later 1700s it was treated with more creativity and seriousness, establishing a distinctive tradition in British art.
A Farrier's Shop
Canvas: 71.1cm x 91.5cm
Frame: 95cm x 115cm
Place of creation
Transferred from the Royal Manchester Institution.
© Manchester Art Gallery