Illustration from The Earth Fiend
Published by Elkin Mathews and John Lane in 1892
Scottish-born William Strang received his artistic training in London, at the Slade School of Fine Art, where for six years, beginning in 1875, he studied with the famed French printmaker Alphonse Legros. During his tenure under Legros, he grew so adept at etching that he was promoted to assistant master of the print studio. Upon his graduation from Slade in 1881, Strang became one of the earliest members of the Society of Painter-Etchers, founded the year before largely through the efforts of Francis Seymour Haden.
The majority of Strang’s prints are etchings or drypoints; however, the relatively few mezzotints he created all rank among his most successful efforts. Man Ploughing was one of eleven intaglios created specifically as illustrations to accompany a ballad written by Strang, titled The Earth Fiend, which was published in 1892 in an edition of just fifty-five copies.