Alfred Rowden was a keen amateur photographer and natural historian in Exeter. He often gave talks at local field clubs, illustrated with magic lantern slides that he created or purchased from commercial manufacturers. He recorded scenery and wildlife specimens around Devon, but occasionally photographed local people and culture too.
In contrast to formal posed photographs this image shows a man at work. Images such as this record ways of life that no longer exist. Without any record of where exactly on Dartmoor it is or even how old the image is, it can only ever provide limited information.