David Allan painted a fascinating set of pictures when the Industrial Revolution was taking hold in Scotland. The setting is the famous lead mines at Leadhills in South Lanarkshire, owned by the 3rd Earl of Hopetoun, who commissioned these paintings. They show the four key stages in lead processing, of which this is the first. The company’s junior employees are engaged in the simplest stage of the process, observed by the Earl and his Countess. Once pounded and broken down by the young boys, who were frequently as young as nine, the lumps of crude ore were sent to be sieved and washed.