Voices in the Coalshed: Pen Portrait
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Voices in the Coalshed: Pen Portrait

When you hear the word portrait what do you think?

There has been a lot in the news about portraits in recent months with images of the late Queen Elizabeth II and new portraits of King Charles III being much discussed – especially the portrait being used on the new 50 pence piece.

Maybe mining and portraits do not seem to have an obvious connection but, if you take a look at the industry’s ‘Coal’ Magazine you will see that portraiture and coal mining are very much linked.

From the first edition of Coal Magazine in May 1947 there was a regular item showing sketches and watercolours of people in the industry each accompanied by a pen portrait; a short, written piece capturing the character of the individual in a few, well chosen, words

The artist was a man called H.A.Freeth and his portraits capture miners from across the coalfields at their work.


Freeth - Pen Portraits

The February 1948 edition introduces us to Sidney Hawkins, a pit deputy from the Forest of Dean. That Sidney is a character, evident in his image, is also shown in his pen portrait where he expresses strong opinions and gives a description of a mysterious black toad, some 15 inches (40cm) long, which he encountered underground!

If you would like to see his portrait , visit our ‘Face to Face’ exhibition where you will find him among the many portraits displayed.

This weeks Voices in the Coalshed was researched and written by research volunteer Nicola. If you would like to join Voices in the Coal Shed, please get in touch with voicesinthecoalshed@gmail.com