Study of Glass-blowers

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART LD 2856 j
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: Pencil
  • medium: wash
  • medium: pastel
  • Support: Height 295 mm, Width 206 mm
  • Mount: Height 558 mm, Width 406 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: drawing

© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 2856 j)

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Object description

image: a full length depiction of a glass blower at work, shown front-on. The man stands with the metal tube to his mouth, twisting the tube with both hands, the glass bulb at his feet glowing yellow and red. He stands within a reddish glow, the interior of the factory behind him. There is a mirrored outline of the glass blower on the reverse side of the paper.


In 1943, Peake was commissioned to record work at a Birmingham glass factory making cathode ray oscillation tubes. Inspired by the dramatic qualities of the glassmaking process and the faces and balletic gestures of the glassblowers, he produced two oil paintings and fifteen drawings. Peake later developed his fascination with the process of glassblowing in his art and writing. A version of the cathode ray oscilloscope tube existed as early as 1897, but the invention did not come into its own until further technological advances were made in the 1930’s, when it became important in the development of television and radar. Chance Brothers was the only glass factory in Britain which had developed the technique of blowing this complex shape and by 1943 they were producing up to 7,000 tubes a week.

Physical description

Outline of central figure in charcoal on reverse

History note

War Artists Advisory Committee commission


Peake 1943

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