The original woodblocks Hog Killing and Apple Butter were produced for Clare Leighton’s iconic book Southern
Harvest (published in New York, 1942, byThe Macmillan Company). Southern Harvest comprised over 35
vignettes depicting, amongst other subjects picking cotton, shucking corn, boiling sorghum and harvesting
tobacco ‚all part of the rich agricultural heritage of America’s South. It was amongst her most important
achievements, providing a unique and poignant record of rural life of the period. Leighton would often
take an entire week to produce a wood engraving, the formative ideas worked up in a pencil sketch, (see
overleaf) which would then be drawn directly on to a naked block covered in Chinese white. The design
was then painstakingly carved with tools strong enough to incise into the end grain of the block, which
was typically made of boxwood, sufficiently hard to allow for a number of prints to be made before any
loss of sharpness. Fortunately the boxwood block, unlike the copper plate, will yield an almost indefinite
number of perfect prints’, Clare Leighton wrote in her book Wood-Engraving and Woodcuts in 1932.
From each block a limited edition of 50 numbered and signed wood engravings were produced. For the
publication, a lithographic process was used.
Hog Killing was originally printed in an edition of 50 as part of Southern Harvest (New York, The Macmillan & Co.). 1942.
Edition of 50, Southern Harvest (New York, The Macmillan Co. , 1942)