Pit Brow Girl

Image credit: National Coal Mining Museum for England

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Although the amateur artist Hannah Keen is believed to have made only one mining portrait, her contribution still deserves recognition. Her father, James Keen, was Chairman of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company. The Keen family’s close connection with the industry must have provided her with an obvious source of inspiration. Her portrait of a pit-brow girl is believed to show one of the many female surface workers who were employed at Maypole Colliery during the late nineteenth century. The portrait is also thought to show the influence of Arthur Wasse’s painting of the same subject made three years earlier and the photographs of A. J. Munby. The Coal Mines Act of 1842 banned women and girls of any age from working underground, but in a handful of coal-mining districts women were still able to work on the surface.

National Coal Mining Museum for England



Pit Brow Girl




oil on canvas


H 39 x W 29 cm

Accession number

YKSMM: 2004.2736

Acquisition method

gift from Mr William R. Hill, 2004

Work type



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National Coal Mining Museum for England

Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 4RH England

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