The foundry and blast furnace are also rare early representations of the industrial process of iron production. Rocky topography such as that depicted here, rich in natural resources, was exploited from the 15th century onward by European rulers for the production of iron, which was used to manufacture nails, armour, gunpowder and weapons, and to equip armies competing for territory on both the continent and in the New World.
Savery continued to paint these rocky forests with torrents from as early as 1609 until the late 1620s, and because they vary little in handling and colour, they are not easy to date; the numerals by the signature on the present work appear to be '1619', but might also be read as '1609.'
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