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Dark Satanic Mills

By PeteAmachree
Personal piece. The title of this picture comes from William Blake's poem Jerusalem. It was one of many sources of inspiration, chief among which was an incredible passage from H.G Wells' book In The Days of the Comet. Here's the line that inspired me; the main character surveying the full horror of the wholesale industrialisation of his native valley in the late 19th century...

"I will admit that with the twilight there came a spell of weird magnificence over all that land and brooded on it until dawn. The horrible meanness of its details was veiled, the hutches that were homes, the bristling multitudes of chimneys, the ugly patches of unwilling vegetation amidst the makeshift fences of barrel-stave and wire. The rusty scars that framed the opposite ridges where the iron ore was taken and the barren mountains of slag from the blast furnaces were veiled; the reek and boiling smoke and dust from foundry, pot-bank, and furnace, transfigured and assimilated by the night.

The dust-laden atmosphere that was gray oppression through the day became at sundown a mystery of deep translucent colors, of blues and purples, of somber and vivid reds, of strange bright clearnesses of green and yellow athwart the darkling sky. Each upstart furnace, when its monarch sun had gone, crowned itself with flames, the dark cinder heaps began to glow with quivering fires, and each pot-bank squatted rebellious in a volcanic coronet of light. The empire of the day broke into a thousand feudal baronies of burning coal.

The minor streets across the valley picked themselves out with gas-lamps of faint yellow, that brightened and mingled at all the principal squares and crossings with the greenish pallor of incandescent mantles and the high cold glare of the electric arc. The interlacing railways lifted bright signal-boxes over their intersections, and signal stars of red and green in rectangular constellations. The trains became articulated black serpents breathing fire."

I was also inspired by the work of John Atkinson Grimshaw…

This picture is a companion piece of this other
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© 2010 - 2021 PeteAmachree
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oldgallego's avatar
i am wondering if you are also familiar with george bellows. his paintings of new york came to mind when i saw this. it is a wonderful painting.
gamewizard-2008's avatar
Starsong-Studio's avatar
I would like to feature your great image on my visual arts blog on Amazing Stories - [link] - credited and with a link back to the image on DA, of course!
The blog is scheduled for Wednesday, 17 August - you'll be able to find it by following the link above.
Please let me know if this is NOT ok with you! :) Thanks, and keep up the good work!
TheSpaceSquid's avatar
All your work is incredible.
FeedYourSpirit's avatar
I love ALL of your work. This piece is great like many many of the others in your gallery.
Alkonium's avatar
The first thing I thought of when I saw the title was "We Work The Black Seam" by Sting. Seems appropriate.
Msbubblely's avatar
mavinga's avatar
Zdou's avatar
Too beautiful not to fav. :'3
jarooods's avatar
wow man, this might honestly be my favorite discovery on this website, awesome concept
exocolumn's avatar
Wonderful dipiction of a victorian steampunk city.
Cloister's avatar
Very nice finish!
streamline69's avatar
This is so totally amazing!
GeorgieGanarf's avatar
Grim and beautiful! It could be Brecht's London from "Three penny opera" as well as the Welles' "The Day of the Comet" or the Bleak environs of Dickens' world as well! It is like a savage beast of the jungle, beautiful and terrible! Well done! Bravo!
PeteAmachree's avatar
Wow! Thanks Jerry. Its not often I have such esteemed literary comparisons. This is definitely one for the headstone. :)

I've heard of Brecht, and the Three Penny Opera, but don't know anything about them. Wikipediaing now!
GeorgieGanarf's avatar
I hope I was able to help, and might I say, you are a very talented artist!
Cacodaemonia's avatar
Wow, this is fantastic. Horrible and dismal, bur beautiful in its own grim way.
PeteAmachree's avatar
Yes, I feel I'm often in danger of tipping permanently into doing this sort of thing. Morbid fascination with bleak imagery. Time to draw some kittens.....on spikes of course :)
Cacodaemonia's avatar
Bleak imagery is strangely addictive, though I have no idea why. Hehe, maybe it's a way for us to say to ourselves, "at least I don't have it that bad."
JericaWinters's avatar
Love everything about it, especially how you did the rain. Rain is very challenging because it's easy to let it mess up the art instead of adding to it but yours looks just great!!!! Keep up the good work!
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