Laing Art Gallery, Tyne and Wear
Mining, Fine Art and Sculpture
1800 – 1899
Ralph Hedley began his career as a woodcarver in Newcastle. After receiving tuition from William Bell Scott at the City's Government School of Design, he began a full-time career as a painter, becoming one of the region's most popular artists.
Hedley believed that art should record the working lives of local people, and his paintings are particularly valuable for the record they provide of everyday life on Tyneside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This painting shows two coal miners returning home from working at the pit at Blaydon, near Gateshead. The young man wears a cap to protect his head from the low beams, and wears shorts because of the heat in the mine. He carries a safety lamp and a sack to kneel on. A print of this picture was produced in 1889 and was very popular.
By Ralph Hedley (1848-1913)
On display at the Laing Art Gallery in the Northern Spirit Gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
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