Falcon Hildred's "unique" industrial landscapes go on display at Ironbridge Gorge

By Ben Miller | 26 October 2012
An image of a intricate landscape painting of an industrial scene
Falcon Hildred, Two Views of Pant-yr-ynn Slate Mill (2007). Pant-yr-ynn mill in Blaenau Ffestiniog was in use in 1846 by the Diffwys Casson quarry, and was operational until 1964 when it was closed down and the machinery scrapped. It is now the Hildred's home and gallery© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection
Exhibition Preview: Falcon Hildred, Coalbrookdale Gallery, Ironbridge, until April 30 2013

Curators, volunteers and archivists have all played their part in this show. As much a historical project as it is a gallery exhibition, organisers at Ironbridge Gorge are proud of securing more than 600 original drawings and watercolours by artist Falcon Hildred.

Having earned help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales to make it happen, the collection now resides in the most fitting of homes - the birthplace of the industrail revolution.

A photo of a male landscape artist sitting at a sunlit desk illustrating deep in thought
Hildred has spent more than 40 years portraying a disappearing landscape© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection
“Falcon’s lifetime of work amounts to a unique record of working-class cultural and industrial landscapes,” explains Dr Peter Wakelin, the Secretary of the Commission.

“The collection is a superb resource for anyone interested in this heritage, much of which has disappeared since Falcon documented it.

“This first exhibition and the book accompanying it will make lots more people aware of his work and the fascinating history it stands for.”

An image of an intricate painting of a scene at Grimsby dock featuring figures and gates
Pasture Street crossing, Grimsby (1978). This picture, based on observations in 1953 and drawn in 1978, captures Falcon's memories of the railway crossing near the house where as a child he was lulled to sleep by the sound of shunting© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection
Based in Blaenau Ffestiniog since 1969, Hildred’s works cover Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Grimsby, Coventry, London and Birmingham, where he recorded buildings and places of “historic and social value” dating from across the past two centuries.

“We believe that Ironbridge, internationally known as the birthplace of industry, is a fitting setting for this beautiful and evocative work,” says Dr Matt Thompson, the Senior Curator of the Gorge’s Museum Trust.

“It documents the industrial past of both England and Wales so eloquently.”

  • Open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm. Admission free. Worktown: the Drawings of Falcon Hildred has been published to coincide with the exhibition.Visit www.rcahmw.gov.uk for more.

More pictures:

An image of a landscape painting of a rural industrial setting overlooking a lake
The Oakeley Gash (1974). A panorama of the terraced working of the Oakeley slate quarries, seen as one enters Blaenau Ffestiniog from the north over the Crimea Pass. To the left are the terraced houses of Tal-y-Waenydd, and beyond them are the Llechwedd quarries and slate mill© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection
An image of a beautiful landscape painting of industrial buildings under a shadowy moon
Cardiff Prison (1986). Cardiff was commissioned after the earlier Cardiff Gaol was deemed insufficient to cope with the likely prison needs of the rapidly expanding industrial town. It was opened at the end of 1832 with room to house 80 prisoners and 20 debtors© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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