(click image to enlarge)
In September 1864, as the result of the personal recommendations of his teachers, Ford Madox Brown and Arthur Hughes, Goodwin visited Newcastle upon Tyne, in order to meet the industrialist and collector, James Leathart. In the event, he seems to have been too shy to call on him, though he did make contact with the painters, William Bell Scott and George Price Boyce – and may actually have been travelling with Boyce. However, it was not a wasted trip, as he returned from Newcastle with a ‘host of material for delineating the Tyne and all things in her neighbourhood’ (as he wrote in a letter of 20 September). He also visited Durham and Whitby while in the area, both of which would become favourite subjects.
James Leathart would eventually own at least five of Goodwin’s watercolours, four dating to 1864, including the present work, which depicts the smelting works that came under the direction of Leathart, as managing partner of the lead manufacturers, Locke, Blackett & Co.