“...masterly pen and ink drawing of “The Blacksmith’s Shop” (6) which [with two of her other exhibited paintings Midday Haze [no. 248] and Blue Frock [no. 243], [Locations Unknown]], add to her reputation as an honest and capable worker, knowing what she wants and able to obtain it to her own satisfaction and the pleasure of those to whom her work at once appeals.”
In the Blacksmith’s Shop
Interior view of a timbered blacksmith’s shop with pillars, side lit by the forge. Window centre back. One horse in background facing viewer wearing horse collar and blinkers. Two leather aproned smiths at the forge. Two crossed tongs and vertical element, foreground.
LL F Scales.
Verso paper label No 1, Pen & Ink, “In the Blacksmith’s Shop”, Flora Scales, Mrs C Sawtell
Sold by auction at Watson’s Auction and Real Estate, New Zealand, 27.04.1988 for $250.0.0
Purchased by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, New Zealand with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest, 1988
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Christchurch, New Zealand
Catalogued in the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Annual Exhibition, 1919 as pen and ink, no. 6, £3.3.0.
Alternative date taken from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū documentation.
Mrs Sawtell [referred to on the verso inscription] is the Christchurch-based artist Rosa Sawtell (1865-1940), whose work was frequently shown in exhibitions along with the work of Flora Scales.
A photograph in the Upper Hutt City Library, New Zealand, Heritage Collections [see Related image], taken c.1880 by Billows and Smith, Nelson Street, Wellington, New Zealand, shows two buildings with signs reading ‘G. McIlvride Practical Horse Shoer’ and ‘G. McIlvride Coach-Builder & Wheelwright’. George McIlvride and his son, George Alexander McIlvride (1873-1935), were blacksmiths in Petone and Upper Hutt. It seems likely that this is a photograph of the Petone business.
As the Scales family home was in the hills above Petone and given her love of horses and riding, perhaps Scales had studied the interior of the McIlvride shop for this pen and ink drawing.
In the years 1917-1919 Flora Scales worked with the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) at the Taumaru Military Convalescent Hospital, Lowry Bay, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Issues of the hospital magazine, The Taumaru Trifler, 1918 and 1919, show signed and dated pen and ink drawings by Scales of the staff and recuperating servicemen [Untitled [The Taumaru Trifler Drawings] [BC143]]. Scales has used a fine steel-nibbed pen and Indian ink, which may also have been used for this work. In both examples, form is realised through variations in the density of cross-hatching; the disciplined, repetition of marks that requires deep concentration and skill.
Review, Evening Post, 4 October, 1919, pg 9