Weaving. One of a pair of roundels showing spinning and weaving, thought to have been by Thomas Woolner (see Hartwell 74), this one still graces the Princess Street elevation of Manchester Town Hall. The other, showing a female figure at a spinning wheel, was moved inside the Sculpture Gallery when the Town Hall was extended in the 1930s (see Wyke 30, where both roundels are nevertheless attributed to Farmer & Brindley). In its purity and precision it does look like a precious instance of what Benedict Read calls Woolner's "occasional sallies into distinctive architectural sculpture" (185). The detail and truth to nature, typical of Pre-Raphaelite principles, hardly need any comment, except to say that both figures' clothes, and the loom here, suggest the pre-industrial age.of domestic workshops. This would appropriately recall Manchester's growth from the cloth trade — its first cotton-mill was built in the early 1780s (see Hartwell 10, 14).

Photograph, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee, Associate Editor, the Victorian Web. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images for larger pictures.]


Hartwell, Clare. Manchester. Pevsner Architectural Guides. London: Penguin, 2001. Print.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1982.

Wyke, Terry, with Harry Cocks. Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004. Print

Last modified 6 April 2012