Cutting the Sugar-Cane
Original Author: William Clark
Created: 1823
Medium: Hand-colored aquatint

Cutting the Sugar-Cane

Enslaved workers cut sugarcane on an estate in Antigua, an English colony in the West Indies. The artist William Clark resided in the West Indies for three years and drew scenes of the sugar-production process that were published in Ten Views in the Island of Antigua, in Which Are Represented the Process of Sugar Making, and the Employment of the Negroes in the Field, Boiling-House, and Distillery (1823). According to the artist, sugarcane required eleven or twelve months before it was ready to be harvested. The green tops were cut off and used as food for the cattle; the cane was then cut into lengths of about three feet, tied into bundles, and brought by wagon to the mill for processing. The mill is visible in the distant background at right.