In the early 1870s English rural labourers, faced with declining wages, organised themselves into a union in the so-called ‘Revolt of the Field’. When they went on strike or were locked out, farmers were forced to take to the fields themselves – as in this etching at the height of the revolt in 1874. The unions encouraged their members to go to New Zealand. Hence the original caption to this image ran: ’The master is doing his own work, his wife is bringing him his dinner, and the man who once did his ploughing and reaping looks idly on, being bound for the Land of Promise.’
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Private collection, Jock Phillips
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