Friday, 2 September 2011
I first saw this colour woodcut Egglestone Abbey by Steven Hutchins around about 1983. A friend had been on one of his search-and-spend visits to Portobello Road in London and popped in to see Steven Hutchins at his stall as part of the exercise. Now, Steven was a dealer in Japanese woodblock but occasionally sold European woodblock artists. (I bought my treasured Paul Leschhorn from him). But on this occasion he had a woodcut by an artist none of us had ever come across: it was Steven Hutchins himself. And he had done something remarkable.
We knew about the handbook called Woodblock Printing that Frank Morley Fletcher had first published in 1916 but neither us suspected that anyone had used the book to teach themselves how to make woodcuts in the Japanese manner as late as the 1980s. But Steven Hutchins had. You can judge for yourself how successful you think he was but for me he did a good job even though when he asked me if I knew this artist when he showed me a woodcut one day, I failed to buy. (No reason why they should have been cheap but they weren't). Anyway, I wanted readers to see these prints just to show what people can achieve with application. You may also note that Steven worked strictly within the British topographical tradition in these two prints at least. Eggleston Abbey is in Co Durham, Lynton on the rocky coast of north Devon. Incidentally, I haven't seen him since the eighties. It was a great time of shared rediscovery but unfortunately the print dealers with flair like Steven Hutchins all moved on. Hail, and farewell.
Egglestone Abbey is for sale at Era Woodblock Prints erawoodblockprints.com/ in Toronto, Castle Rock, Lynton at annexgalleries.com/ in Santa Rosa. My thanks are due to them.