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Smith's Forge: P.15025-R

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Smith's Forge


Printmaker: McArdell, James
Publisher: McArdell, James
Painter: Brouwer, Adriaen (After)




After a lost painting which was thought in the eighteenth century to be by Haarlem painter, Adriaen Brouwer (1605/1606-1638) and which belonged to Bourchier Cleeve of Foots Cray Place, Kent (see Notes). A Blacksmith's forge seen in semi-darkness, the furnace at the centre emanating light and creating shadows to left and right. Two figures are at work; one, seen from behind, holds an object in the furnace at the centre with his right hand and pulls on a chain with his left to operate the bellows seen on the right. A second figure to the right lifts up a hammer in his right hand to beat an object from the furnace on an anvil.


History note: VanSittart gave 1,485 engravings to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1879 and this mezzotint was probably included within this group. The number written in graphite in large script on the verso presumably relates to some kind of count by curators at the time of the acquisition.

Legal notes

Given by Augustus Arthur VanSittart, ?1879

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1879) by VanSittart, Augustus Arthur


Circa 1754 CE - Circa 1765 CE


Mezzotint, printed in black ink with sepia ink added à la poupée. Narrow margins, lower half of inscription space with printmaker's name and publication details trimmed away. Remaining inscription engraved in italics: 'Done from a capital picture of Brouwer in the Collection of B: Cleeve Esq:r'. The missing part of the inscription reads: 'BY JA.s McARDELL / Sold by J. McArdell at the Golden Head in Covent Garden. Price 2s'. No publication date is given. The clean inscription space seen in this impression suggests that it represents a later state than either of those in the British Museum collection, both of which have grounded inscription spaces. The sepia ink added to indicate the reflected orange glow of the furnace is in this impression also evident on the body of the man on the right. In the BM impression with sepia ink (1858,1113.19), the colouring is only applied at the heart of the furnace and not as a reflected glow on the figure. The BM also has an impression of the print without sepia ink: 1861,1109.41. Inscribed in graphite on the verso: 'Vansittart Collection / m 6 / 428'. A reduced version of the composition after 'Brouwer' by Charles Spooner was also published by Carington Bowles and Robert Sayer; see BM 2010,7081.2102 (Bowles) and 1877,0609.1549 (Sayer).

School or Style


Techniques used in production

à la poupée

Identification numbers

Accession number: P.15025-R
Primary reference Number: 240087
Goodwin (McArdell): 206 (as described)
Nagler (Künstler-Lexicon): 1.4 (p.155; 'Der Schmiede-Schoppen, oder die kleine Schmiede, nach Brouwer ...')
Chaloner Smith: undescribed
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Thursday 9 January 2020 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Smith's Forge" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-05 09:00:27

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