A brown ink drawing on light brown paper. A factory sits across the middle third, fenced off, with a field visible in the foreground, illustrated with simple flecks, lines and dots. A tree is visible on the right, taller than the factory, and a man sits atop a horse-drawn carriage next to the tree.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), A tile factory, 1888, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

A Tile Factory

Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh made this drawing of a tile factory at the edge of a ploughed field during his sojourn in Arles in 1888. Using reed pens of varying thickness, he rendered the scene with a wide range of marks similar to those used in his paintings, from short flecks suggesting leaves or stubble in the foreground to thinner lines denoting the factory roof. 

The drawing was carefully planned. A grid, drawn in pencil, is faintly visible underneath the ink. Van Gogh probably used it to establish the perspective setting the modern factory buildings at the centre of the rural surroundings. He would have encountered these buildings on his way to Arles in February 1888, returning later to draw them once the snow had melted. 

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)