Hamilton's Reaper Series was inspired by Siegfried Giedion's Mechanization takes Command. Hamilton used the components of the agricultural machine to produce a series of 'variations'. In this series of prints he broke down the components of the machine into a series of abstracted forms which he combined to produce different compositions simultaneously experimenting with the technical resources of the Slade printmaking studio. Hamilton has written about Fernand Leger's visit to the Slade in 1949 when students were invited to submit work to him for criticism: 'With some apprehension I took my small portfolio of Reapers to him and received a most kindly reaction. The whole series of 19 Reaper prints was shown at Gimpel Fils in 1950.
Lit: Waddington Graphics, Richard Hamilton Prints: A Complete Catalogue of Graphic Works 1939-1983, Stuttgart and London: Waddington Graphics: Edition Hansjorg Mayer, 1984.