Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ready for Christmas - William Nicholson's Square Book of Animals

We currently have the whole set of William Nicholson's classic lithographs from his The Square Book of Animals on display in the gallery. All framed and ready for Christmas each print comes with cataloguing information detailing the accompanying poem by Arthur Waugh.

Cock O’ the North! The dawn is young, Grey-glimmering the pane; Yet you, with your discordant tongue, Have woken me again! Good beasts are silent in their pens. Hush! Leave the boasting to the hens.

Cock O' The North
William Nicholson
Published by William Heinemann 1898 
Image 128 x 128 mm
From The Square Book of Animals

Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson (1872 - 1949) was a British artist. A painter of landscapes, still life, and portraits most notably, he is also remembered for his distinctive illustrative work and for his creative partnership with his brother-in-law, James Pryde.

Nicholson studied at Hubert von Herkomer's art school and it was here that he met James Pryde and his sister Mabel, whom Nicholson later married. The pair collaborated under the pseudonym "Beggarstaff" producing fine graphical works and posters. Their work was influential in its design and had an important impact on the poster art movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Christ Church Meadow in Flood

This charming miniature etching by Wilfred Ball shows the flooded Christ Church Meadow over 120 years ago.

A familiar scene today after many of us battled to get to work this morning with flood warnings and road closures across the city.

For those of you who are stuck at home due to the weather why not browse our website for some Christmas inspiration? Alternatively, if you can brave the miserable journey into town, we have a fantastic display of new stock at the gallery including a range of stunning Japanese woodblock prints that can't help but cheer you up!

Christ Ch. Meadow in Flood
Wilfred Ball 
c. 1880
Image & Plate 65 x 105 mm
Signed in plate

Wilfred Ball (1853-1917) was a London based watercolourist and etcher specialising in landscapes and river scenes. He contributed plates to 'The Etcher' from 1880 to 1883 and exhibited paintings and etchings at the Royal Academy from 1877 to 1903.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Who needs good weather to play tennis?

Real tennis, from which the more commonly known lawn tennis derived, has its origins as far back as the 12th century. Evolving over the centuries from the French jeu de paume (a reference to the earlier sport played without a racquet), to the game we are familiar today, real tennis, or, court tennis as it is sometimes known, was a prominent force in Europe during the 16th to 19th centuries. It was exceedingly popular with Royals in Britain and France, including Henry VIII, and in the late 19th century courts were built in Australia and America.

Real tennis is still played today and of the 47 remaining courts, the Merton court in Oxford is the second oldest in the world.

 A perfect rainy day activity!

Games With The Ball - Tennis , The Court at Lords
R.S. Groom, Wilkinson & Co
Lithograph with hand colour
London: Henry Lea & Co 125, Fleet Street. 1863
Image 165 x 251 mm

A lovely print illustrating real tennis from The Sportsman's Companion by Henry Downes Miles, Esqr

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Print du Jour

Durham Castle. A post-card to the Castle, Durham will bring you a free booklet further illustrating its beauty

Fred Taylor
Published by the London & North eastern Railway. John Waddington Ltd Leeds & London. 1925
Image 990 x 1240 mm

A stunning original 1920's Rail Poster of Durham Castle.

The story of railways in Britain is reflected in the development of the railway poster. This commercial art form illustrates the major changes that have occurred in British society over the years and captures the spirit and character of British life. They are social documents of British culture, illustrating the changing styles of art, patterns of holidaymaking, urban and rural landscapes, architecture and fashion. They also reflect the development of railway companies and their design and advertising standards. It is hardly surprising that the "Golden Age" of British railway posters coincided with the quarter-century following the amalgamation in 1923 of almost all of the numerous small independent companies into what came to be known as the "Big Four"railways: the Great Western (GWR); the London, Midland, and Scottish (LMS); the London and North East (LNER); and the Southern (SR). The end of the Great War saw Britain with a public eager to travel - and possessing a well-developed taste for the poster as a medium of advertising. In the latter case the war itself provided continuity for initiatives that began in peacetime, for the recruiting and saving and funding campaigns needed to vanquish the Hun were waged largely on the hoardings.

Nor is it surprising that the main visual thrust of the railway poster campaigns during these years was directed towards the anticipated delights of journey's end, and copies of posters were routinely offered to - and eagerly purchased by the public, some of whom might indeed have to settle more often for an idyllic image of Britain's coasts or mountains in their rooms than for the real thing.

Fred Taylor was born in London on March 22 1875, the son of William Taylor. Taylor studied briefly at Goldsmith's College, London, where he won a gold medal for his posters, and a travelling scholarship to study in Italy. At some point working in the Waring and Gillow Studio, Taylor was a poster artist, illustrator, decorator and a watercolourist. Particularly noted as a poster artist from 1908 to the 1940s, and was regularly commissioned by the LNER, EMB and shipping companies. Taylor also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, and other provincial societies. Taylor's designs frequently referred to architectural subjects.

During the Second World War, Taylor was employed on naval camouflage. He also executed commissions for London Transport, including 'Back Room Boys', where the underlying concept and use of central image with a surrounding border were probably taken from A S Hartrick's series of lithographs on war work called Playing the Game, 1918, although 'their finely balanced colouring and their superb draughtsmanship are peculiar to Taylor at his best'. Married to Florence R Sarg, with a son and a daughter, Taylor is also remembered for his decorating work, most notably for ceilings for the former Underwriter's Room at Lloyds of London, and murals for Austin Reed's red laquer room in 1930. He was also the author of a number of publications.

Information from: Livingston, A. and Livingston, I., Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers, 1992, p.187, London Transport Museum Database, February 2000, quoting Riddell, 1994, Darracott, J. and Loftus, B., Second World War Posters, 1981 (1972), p.55

Condition: In excellent condition with minor creases and repaired tears to left and right edges of sheet, professionally laid to linen. Framed with perspex front.

Monday, 12 November 2012


If you are heading over to Oxford to see the new Meiji period textile show at the Ashmolean why not pop into to Sanders to see our fantastic collection of Meiji woodblock prints.

The Ashmolean exhibition promises to be a spectacular display: While it turns cold outside, the Ashmolean’s autumn-winter exhibition celebrates sumptuous interiors. Many of us are aware of the beauty of the traditional Japanese kimono. ‘Threads of Silk and Gold’ introduces the less well known but equally spectacular ornamental textiles that were made for western homes during Japan’s Meiji era (1868–1912). This was the famous period of Japonisme, which saw the European Impressionist painters exploring themes and styles taken from Japanese art, and Victorian rooms filled with Japanese decorative arts and crafts.

Winter Boat Ride  
Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900)
Woodblock print (nishiki-e)
Ôban tate-e single sheet [9.5 x 14 inches]
Signature: Toyohara Kunichika hitsu
Publisher: Takegawa Seikichi
Series: Genji gojuyon jo: 54 Modern Feelings Compared with Genji-e.

Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900) was talented as a child and at about thirteen he became a student of Tokyo's then-leading print maker, Utagawa Kunisada. His deep appreciation and knowledge of kabuki drama led to his production primarily of ukiyo-e actor-prints, woodblock prints of kabuki actors and scenes from popular plays of the time. An alcoholic and womanizer, Kunichika also portrayed beautiful women (bijin-ga), contemporary social life, and a few landscapes and historical scenes. He worked successfully in the Edo period, and carried those traditions into the Meiji period. To his contemporaries and now to some modern art historians, this has been seen as a significant achievement during a transitional period of great social and political change in Japan's history.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Japanese Woodblock Prints, New Acquisitions Catalogue

With Asian Art London on display in the capital we thought we would join in and provide you all with a welcome break from the mundane and everyday and invite you to view our latest mini-catalogue of beautiful and fascinating examples of Ukiyo-e printmaking depicting a world of fleeting beauty.

“…Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossom s and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating;… refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current; this is what we call the floating world…”

Asai Ryoi, Ukiyo monogatari.

To download the catalogue click here

Saturday, 3 November 2012

An Explosive Print du Jour

Our explosive Print du Jour is Eric Ravilious' Fireworks, a chromolithograph published in  J. M. Richard’s and Eric Ravilious’ High Street by Country Life Books in 1938.

Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) was an English painter, wood-engraver and designer. He was born in Acton and was educated at Eastbourne School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art (1922–1925), where he was taught by Paul Nash and became close friends with Edward Bawden. He began teaching part-time at Eastbourne School of Art in 1925 and later that year was elected to the Society of Wood Engravers, having been proposed by Paul Nash. After leaving the RCA, he became a master of wood engraving and illustrated numerous books and produced patterned papers for the Curwen Press. In the 1930s he began painting larger compositions in a wider range of colour, and this led him to use lithography to illustrate High Street (1938). Later as a War Artist he produced a series of lithographs of submarines.

Please visit our website to see more of our extensive collection of Ravilious prints.

Have a great Guy Fawkes Night!!