Sunday, 20 March 2011
Ada Collier's four bronze horses
Unfortunately, Clive's contribution to the Ada Collier effort arrived too late to be included in the revised post. But I think her fine colour woodcut of the horses on the facade of St Mark's in Venice deserves its own post anyway. This image isn't as pale as I remember it. Although the horses are described as being bronze, they are 97% copper and the verdigris works well against the mauve shadows and sunlit buildings beyond. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find Collier knew Mabel Royd's Indian pieces. The whole image has an oriental feel, accentuated by the strict and very clever organisation of the perspective. It also employs the Japanese method in a more conventional way than the prints in the previous post. I think this woodcut dates from 1924, the year Collier was included in the group exhibit at the Venice Biennale. Every time I see another of her prints, I become more bemused by her lack of recognition. I have to put this down to the fact that her woodcuts are few and far between. With the help I've received from fellow bloggers, lotusgreen, Gerrie and Clive, hopefully these two posts might begin to put matters right for this scandalously neglected printmaker.
For anyone interested in the history of the horse themselves, I include this mock-up of the Hippodrome in Constantinople. (I particularly like the addition of Haghia Sophia without its minarets). The horses may not have started out pulling a chariot above the starting gate (I think they are generally considered to be late Roman because of the casting technique) and were looted during the disastrous sack of the city in 1204 by western troops taking part in the Fourth Crusade. The doge had them shipped back to Venice. Some shopping list he had.