The forgotten story of Irish linen

Rare set of prints for sale for €6,570 from De Búrca Rare Books in Blackrock, Co Dublin

Plate VI, titled: “Taken on the spot in the County of Downe, Representing Spinning, Reeling with the Clock Reel, and Boiling the Yarn”

Plate VI, titled: “Taken on the spot in the County of Downe, Representing Spinning, Reeling with the Clock Reel, and Boiling the Yarn”

 

An “exceedingly rare” set of 18th-century colour prints depicting the Irish linen industry is for sale at De Búrca Rare Books in Blackrock, Co Dublin with an asking price of €6,570. The rare books dealer said the sepia printed and coloured aquatints – the only set known – are “mounted in a large oblong folio volume” published in London by R Pollard, Spafields, in 1791.

The dozen prints show a series of paintings by Waterford-born artist William Hincks who made his name, first in Dublin, and then in London, during the late 18th century. He illustrates the various process of producing linen, from preparing the ground and sowing, to the arrival of the finished material for exportation at the Linen Hall in Dublin. Among the prints is a scene in Co Down “Representing Spinning, Reeling with the Clock Reel, and Boiling the Yarn”.

Bookseller Will de Búrca said as a “depiction of an agri/industrial process, the prints are unique in Irish 18th century literature.” Among them is Plate VI, titled: “Taken on the spot in the County of Downe, Representing Spinning, Reeling with the Clock Reel, and Boiling the Yarn”.

See deburcararebooks.com

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