Hands Etching – Ô Laborum

WAG 5181


This was originally created as an illustration for Haden’s manifesto ‘About Etching’ first published in 1866. He focuses on the hands to show the similarities between etching and drawing. The hand holds the needle similar to the way a pencil is held, showing how etching is not laborious like other print mediums. The tools appear small and slender compared with other printing implements such as the burin, chisel or rocker used in engraving and mezzotint. The Latin inscription 'Ô laborum dulce lenimen' translates as 'O Sweet Solace of Toil'.