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Dudley image is actually a portrait of Richard Reynolds

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 20, 2014

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I AM writing to advise you of some small errors in the Top Ten of Dudley's sons and daughters article published in The Bugle (July 3 edition).

In this piece you mention Darby 'revolutionising the production of pig iron in the late 1600s'. While Darby certainly was learning the techniques he would later employ to revolutionise the production of iron at that time, it was not until he took the lease of the furnace at Coalbrookdale in 1708 that this process began in earnest. It was in 1709 that he first produced iron using coke as a fuel in a manner that was commercially viable; something that no one had managed previously as far as is known.

However, it is the image of Abraham Darby which is most problematic.

As a Quaker he, and his son and grandson after him, did not have their portraits made.

Although not a Quaker myself I understand this to be due to a desire not to become bound up in vanity or self image. Therefore there are no known portraits or images of Abraham Darby nor his son and grandson.

The image printed is actually a portrait of Richard Reynolds. Richard Reynolds (b1735 – d1816) married Abraham Darby II's daughter, Hannah, and was involved in the Coalbrookdale Company in the mid 18th century.

However, none of this takes away from the fact that Abraham Darby was indeed someone whom the Black Country can feel justifiably proud of, alongside one of my own personal favourites John Bonham. All the best.

Dr. Matt Thompson,

Senior Curator, 01952 435 956,

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust


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