'The Fool Plough', 1813.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured aquatint by Robert Havell after George Walker (1781-1856) from his 'The Costume of Yorkshire' published in 1814 by Robinson & Son of Leeds. The image shows 'plough stots', which is performed on Plough Monday, in January at the start of the agricultural year. The ploughmen dres in character, dance and drag the plough through their village and generally act the fool. The custom was still practised in Goathland, North Yorkshire at the start of the 20th century. Walker's book recorded the social customs, pastimes and occupations of the people of Yorkshire at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Its 40 aquatints and text described the scenes in both English and French. Walker was commisioned to produce the book by a local bookseller.