Cutting the Sugar Cane, Antigua

This is an aquatint by William Clark. The print was was 1 of 10 included in his work about the island of Antigua. As a guest painter to the island Clark was allowed access to all aspects of life on the plantations and he produced images of the different stages of the sugar cultivation process.

This print shows enslaved people harvesting the ripe sugar canes. The canes took about 12 months to mature and grew to a height of 9 or 10 feet. They were harvested using very sharp double-edged knives which could be used on the upstroke as well as the down. This scene was drawn on Delap's sugar estate and a sugar mill can be seen in the background on the right of the painting.

Read a personal reflection on the image by writer Mike Phillips.

Taken from: Cutting the Sugar Cane, Antigua
Author / Creator: William Clark
Date: 1823
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 1786.c.9