Media: Flo-Master pen and blue ink on paper
Size: 17 x 27.5 cm
Norman Cornish – Behind the Scenes page 36
The last remaining example of this underground subject matter within the Estate; men walking, hunched, to the coal face.
A powerful image evoking strong memories from his first day at work when he exited from the cage to find it was well lit by electric lights and the tunnel curved away into the distance. “My mining career had begun”. The picture reveals the cramped conditions endured by the men. For Norman the artist, the image was full of powerful shapes including the girders, rail track for the coal tubs, lamps and battery cables, the angular legs of the men, their clothing, hands etc.
The dilemma for a young Norman Cornish was that he was fascinated by aesthetics and a desire to record these moments, when simultaneously the mine owners were only interested in coal production. He had to work with speed and accuracy to capture the moment and simultaneously prepare for his own shift at the coal face. Sometimes inevitably this work was done from memory later in the day.