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Boiling House, Antigua

Boiling House, Antigua

Artist: Clark, William

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1823

Shelfmark: 1786.c.9

Item number: Page 6

Genre: Topographical Print

This aquatint by William Clark is an illustration depicting the interior of a boiling house on Delap's Estate - a sugar plantation in Antigua. Once the sugar cane had been harvested and processed in the mill, the extracted liquid was piped to the boiling house where the juice was boiled to purify and refine it into crystallised sugar. In the boiling house were 4 or 5 copper containers hung over a large furnace. These coppers were carefully scaled in size and became progressively smaller. Any impurities that rose to the surface were skimmed off and the remaining liquid was poured into the next container where the process was repeated. The enslaved workers in the boiling house had to endure not only the overwhelming temperatures and unpleasant smells, but they also had to be very careful to avoid being scalded by the hot liquids.

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