Percy Shakespeare’s largest painting, The Rasp Grinders, was commissioned by the Hope Works Company, Dudley. The company forged (mainly by hand) hand tools and small foundry equipment. For many years the painting hung in the company board room; subsequently it was displayed as a long term loan at Dudley Art Gallery.
Shakespeare sets his scene in a typical workshop, built of brick with a raftered roof. He depicts three workmen toiling away as sparks fly from the grindstone. It was common practice for the chair of the labourer to be chained to the floor, in case the grind wheel exploded, taking the workman with it.
This painting appears as PS66 in Robin Shaw’s catalogue raisonne of Percy Shakespeare.
We are grateful to Robin Shaw and James Witchell for their assistance.