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Digging Or Rather Hoeing The Cane Holes, Antigua

Digging Or Rather Hoeing The Cane Holes, Antigua

Artist: Clark, William

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1823

Shelfmark: 1786.c.9

Item number: Page 2

Genre: Topographical Print

This picture of enslaved people working on the plantations was drawn on Weatherill's Estate in Antigua in the early 19th century. The aquatint is by William Clark. The estate was located on the north west coast of the island and the terrain included peaks of up to 250 feet as well as 3 valleys. The slaves working to prepare the fields before the planting of sugar canes had a hard and gruelling job. Cane holes were hoed in squares and this painting shows children marking out the areas to be hoed with sticks placed 3 or 4 feet apart. It was usual practice for cattle to be enclosed in fields that had been left fallow, thus fertilising the ground. As can be seen on the left of the print, the herdsman lived in a shelter, often made of nothing more than straw, next to the field so that he could watch to make sure no animals escaped.

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