Friday, 21 October 2011

A M Shrimpton's 'Almond blossom in Appennines'

As Gerrie Caspers brought up the subject of the techniques that both Ada Shrimpton and William Giles used for their printed work, I thought I ought to say something about the Giles method and what happened to it. Giles made no woodcuts between 1911 and 1926. Instead he used acid to etch zinc plates which were then printed progressively in the same way as a colour woodcut, to build up the final image.

I don't know offhand what medium he used for his own prints but when he came to issue the final edition of his Colour Print Magazine in 1926 (the year after Shrimpton died) he used the original five etched plates with watercolour to produce the image you see above, which is quite different from the effect achieved by his wife (see previous post). This is an original posthumous print, the paper being tipped onto the page of the magazine. [I am grateful to Paul Ritscher  for the image.]

The artists made a significant bequest of prints, plates and notes on the method to the V&A in London, which now has the best collection of their work as a result. But the method effectively died with Ada Shrimpton as did the magazine. She had provided the funds and quite possibly some of the motivation to develop the method. After all, it was well-suited to someone who had come to printmaking as a painter.

I deliberately avoided saying anything about the methods they used in the main post only because I thought it would complicate matters when I wanted to concentrate on a joint achievement. In fact, I was wrong to do so because the methods they both developped were as much a part of their achievement as the prints they made. Giles went on making woodcuts after Ada Shrimpton's death but he eventually left the King's Road in Chelsea to live in Essex. That says it all.

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