In the early 1930s Clare Leighton began work on a sequence of wood engravings depicting traditional farming in England over the course of a calendar year. The country was in the grips of the Great Depression. Unemployment had doubled. Hunger marches were beginning to spread through towns and cities. Machines were replacing men and women on the land.
Clare Leighton (1898-1989) was born in London and studied at Brighton, Slade and Central schools of art. Travel in Europe nurtured an empathy for rural workers and their culture, reflected in much of her work. An accomplished writer, Clare Leighton was encouraged to write a series of sketches to accompany the twelve engravings she produced. The Farmer’s Year was the result, published in 1933 to great acclaim in Britain and North America, running to three impressions by February 1934.