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View taken near Hillsborough in the County of Downe

View taken near Hillsborough in the County of Downe

Artist: Hincks, W.

Medium: Aquatint

Date: 1783

Shelfmark: Ktop LII

Item number: 46.b

Genre: Topographical Print

View of workers harvesting flax in 18th century Ireland. This is the second plate in a series of twelve views of the linen manufacturing process produced by W. Hincks. Flax has been grown in County Down for over 300 years and in the 18th century it became an important centre for production of linen. In the background of this view the workers are pulling the flax from the roots. It was pulled rather than cut so that a further more coarse growth could be harvested a fortnight later. The workers under the tree are putting the flax through a machine known as the 'ripple'- this seperated the flax from the seed which the farmers could then reuse. The male worker in the foreground is soaking the flax to make it soft, this is a process known as 'retting' and lasted about ten days.

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