Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Tales from ebay: John Hall Thorpe's Dawn
Well, here's a neat coincidence. Readers who recall the recent post 'A day on the Thames' may also recognise the red sails of a Thames sailing barge in this print by the well-known Australian purveyor of colour woodcuts, John Hall Thorpe. This feeble sub-Germanic effort of his comes up soon on British ebay and just goes to show he couldn't draw and couldn't compose a picture. Readers only have to compare Ethel Kirkpatrick's woodcut of the same subject to see what I am talking about. No matter. The seller is quite right to be confident this will go and has started it off at next-to-nothing. It's also a fair and wise approach to something both weak and unusual. I am only disappointed that they don't seem to having been paying attention. No matter. There are three bids in already on what is after all a collector's print. And this is not to decry Hall Thorpe as a decorative printmaker either. I loved having his Marigolds above the fireplace in the 1970s. It suited the times to a T but it disappeared and I have never been able to bring myself to fork out the going rate just to replace it. He is the Clarice Cliff of the colour woodcut and nothing wrong with that, specially if you had picked Marigolds up at Mrs Treasure's (dealers names don't come better than that) for all of £1.25 (just over €1). And it will certainly be interesting to see whether good sense prevails over vanity, cupidity and all the rest. And I very much doubt that it will.