The Cotton Works and Bridge at Cromford by William Day

In my last post I mentioned how few depictions I had found of the Derwent Valley Mills, both in travel diaries and in amateur sketchbooks.  This isn’t to say that the mills were completely ignored by artists, as Joseph Wright’s oil of Cromford Mill shows.  William Day also sketched the mills on his 1789 tour of the County.  Derby Museum holds this lovely watercolour.

Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mill (Derby Museums)

I have been tracking down the  Day watercolours from 1789 that aren’t in public collections.  Here is The Cotton Works and Bridge at Cromford, Derbyshire which went through Sotheby’s auction house in 1975 – sadly this black and white scan is the best I have found.  It has an unusual composition which shows Cromford Mill on the right and Cromford Bridge on the left, seen through Scarthin Rock.

Day Cromford Mill (private collection)

Walter Evans & Co’s, Boars Head Cotton box

Boar's Head box

Derby Museums have bought a 19th century brass-bound mahogany box, with the lid inscribed in marquetry “Walter Evans and Co’s, Derby, Boar’s Head Cotton”.

The box also bears the boar’s head logo and would haveBoar's Head logo been used for storing cotton supplied by the mill in Darley Abbey. The Boar’s Head Mill was established by Thomas Evans in 1782. The Evans family seem to be the first in the Derwent Valley to recognize the commercial opportunity of having a retail outlet, serving local people with sewing and knitting cottons, embroidery threads and materials.

Earier in the project Derby Museums also bought an early 20th century cotton reel from the mill.