I came across a watercolour this past week by artist #HenryGeorgeHine (1811-1895). Henry Hine was born at Brighton, Sussex, the son of a coachman. Henry taught himself to draw and paint and his further training was encouraged by a local vicar . This vicar owned several paintings by #CopleyFielding which Henry truly appreciated. For a number of years Henry produced sea themed pieces and coastal scenes. To improve his technique. Henry traveled to London and apprenticed as a draghtsman to Henry Meyer. After his apprenticeship, Henry traveled to Rouen where he lived and painted. He stayed in France for about two years, when he moved back to Brighton and then to London.In London, he used his skills to produce wood engravings for illustrated publications. Henry contributed to PUNCH magazine for 3 years and then went to work for the Illustrated London News. Hine returned to painting landscapes. He was elected to the Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1863 and exhibited regularly with the Institute until his death in 1895.
The piece, I came across, shows a number of female labourers stripping the bark off of willow branches or osiers for later use in basket weaving. It is signed H. Hine but not dated. I place it around 1860-1880. I have opted for Henry George Hine as the artist rather than his son #HenryWilliamHine (known as Harry) as the younger regularity signed his works ‘Harry Hine’. A look into life of the female workforce and the hard labour which they struggled with to earn a living. Willow stripping was entirely done by hand as each stem is pulled individually through a hand-brake. The willow stripping machine appeared between the two world wars.