This was the first English painting to enter the Hermitage when it was acquired by Catherine the Great in 1774. We do not know how it was that Catherine had heard of the talent of this artist who was still so little known in his own country, but this purchase characterizes her as a perspicacious collector. Between 1771 and 1773 Wright painted five pictures of an iron forge, of which this was the last. With northern practicality he paints the inside of the forge, but it is light which dominates the canvas, the warm light in the forge itself and the complex shadows it throws on the walls and onto the ground outside, and the cold light of the moon.
Iron Forge Viewed from Without
Entered the Hermitage in 1774; purchased from the artist