“...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 $250.00
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
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, New Zealand, 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 images], 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, it is possible Scales had studied the interior of the McIlvride shop for this pen and ink drawing.
Form is realised through variations in the density of cross-hatching; the disciplined, repetition of marks that requires deep concentration and skill. Similar cross-hatching used so effectively here to model and suggest light and shade is also seen in Untitled [The Taumaru Trifler Drawings] [BC143]. The technique is also used with great skill in the etching The Homecoming [BC124].
Evening Post, 4 October, 1919, pg 9
Photo by John Collie