‘Utopian Realism’ is an exploration of rural utopianism, idealism and industrialism in the North East of England and Mid Wales by the artists Mair Hughes and Bridget Kennedy.

Monday, 25 July 2011

King Coal's Levee (or Geological Etiquette), 1818

Whilst exploring the archives at the Mining Institute in Newcastle we came across a poetic ode which positions coal as a monarch presiding over his geological subjects. It's written in a humorous style but there are some nice attempts at personification of rocks and minerals based on their physical properties. The section above describes what happens when king coal gets angry and chases his subjects out of his caverns, and imagines how each mineral would suffer its own unique form of structural damage on the way. It also serves as a reminder of the reverence coal was held in and the positive, powerful associations connected with it in a time before there was a strong awareness of it's polluting potential.

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