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E. Barrett was an artist and also an employee in the Design department at the Nairn’s linoleum factory, a well-known Kirkcaldy firm. Here we see him capturing the skilled job of hand-printing. By the time this was painted machine printing had taken over, although some of older presses lingered on and were used to test the printing blocks. The man behind the printer is acting as an apprentice who in previous years would have been a young boy. These boys were known as
This scene shows the traditional hand-printing method used to put patterns on linoleum. Kirkcaldy was the leading linoleum producing town in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Huge linoleum factories and the strong smell coming from them dominated the town. A poem called 'The Boy in the Train' by Mary Campbell Smith includes the lines: 'For I ken mysel' by the queer-like smell, that the next stop's Kirkcaddy!'
oil on canvas
H 58.7 x W 75.6 cm
unknown acquisition method
E. Barrett 1951