Exhibited:Percy Shakespeare, Dudley Museum and Art Gallery, August 1999; Dudley Art Gallery, 1990-2016 (long term loan); ‘For Real: British Realists from the 20s and 30s’, Museum MORE, Gorssel, September 15th, 2019 ‚Äì January 5th, 2020.
Literature: Robin Shaw, Percy Shakespeare: Dudley’s Painter of the Thirties, published by Robin Shaw (ISBN 0953912604), 2000, p. 27-28
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.