William Clark was an artist who spent three years in the West Indies on the estates of Admiral Tallemach. While there he made drawings of the process of sugar making, showing workers on a number of estates. As a guest painter to the island Clark was allowed access to all aspects of life on the plantations and he produced images of the different stages of the sugar cultivation process. Some of the images depict enslaved people harvesting the ripe sugar canes. The canes took about 12 months to mature and grew to a height of 9 or 10 feet. They were harvested using very sharp double-edged knives which could be used on the upstroke as well as the down.