Friday 29 January 2021

Nancy E. Green 'From Edinburgh to Santa Barbara: Frank Morley Fletcher's transatlantic influence'


                                               Credit: William P Carl Fine Prints

For many years now Nancy E. Green has been a leading scholar in the field of the American Arts & Crafts movement and colour woodcut in particular. From her base as senior curator at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, she has published books and articles that are necessary reading for anyone with a real interest in colour woodcut. Unfortunately, on this side of the Atlantic, some of this work has been either unavailable or has become expensive, so I do not have her books about Arthur Wesley Dow and her old essay about Frank Morley Fletcher on my bookshelf. This means that the article published this month by the Scottish Society for Art History in volume 25 of their journal is going be indispensable reading for both scholars and collectors.


The society are fortunate to have James Barnes as a member. He is their treasurer, an enthusiast for colour woodcut and an experienced proof-reader, and it was James who edited the lecture given by Nancy E. Green in Glasgow last year. The result is the most comprehensive account to date of Fletcher's life and career from his early days in Lancashire to his final years in Ventura County, CA. But this is not merely the story of an artist and his work. Fletcher was a teacher and educationalist, an administrator and committee man, a writer (above) and a proponent of industrial design (below) as well as being a printmaker. This makes him a tricky person to research, a situation made more complicated by Fletcher leaving Britain in 1923 to live and work in California. No-one could know it all. What is worse, the material available is scattered and often tantalising. This essay has made something coherent out of all that.

                                                                                                The Fletcher desk

Nancy Green did some of her research in Scotland while the Fletcher family were also very helpful to her, but inevitably some things are missing and there are occasional errors of fact. What is more important are the judgements Green makes. A case is properly made for the importance of partnership in Fletcher's life, above all with his wife, Dolly, and suggests how much this was part of the ethos of the Arts & Crafts movement both in Britain and the U.S.A. Not only has the topic been neglected, the role people like Dolly Fletcher, Mary Batten and Ada Shrimpton played has been more or less ignored, something Green will be putting right with her next book. She also pins down Fletcher's talent for building on ideas and the way he put his organisational ability to use in the cause of art education at new schools like Edinburgh College of Art and the Santa Barbara School of Art, a skill I suspect he first developed in the United States. Lastly, she takes care to emphasise the importance of Fletcher's large family of ten brothers and sisters - and his father, Alfred Evans Fletcher (below). Alfred was a scientist and engineer with a lack of realism that he finally managed to suppress during a successful career as chief inspector of alkali works. Fletcher was as uncompromising as his father (who had refused to sign the Thirty-nine Articles to become eligible for Cambridge) and one of the most telling passages in the essay deals with Albert Herter's visit to the Fletcher household in 1891: ' ...his father is in a chronic state of grievedness at the wickedness of his family and their frivolity of Godlessness.' 

Worse was to come. In 1895, his son married the daughter of a Suffolk fisherman who was also an artist's model (the daughter not the fisherman) and continued with his plans to become an artist himself. What Green does not say is that Alfred's own father was an educationalist, a connection Alfred could not have failed to make once his son began teaching at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1897 and became headmaster of the art department at the new University Extension College at Reading only one year later. His sister-in-law said later Fletcher had the same far-seeing eyes as his father (which the photographer has captured) suggesting both men were equally sensitive.

This essay made me think and represents an important stage in the study of a neglected field, particularly in Scotland, and members of the society have done a good job bringing the subject to the attention of readers in Scotland and beyond. The piece is well-illustrated and the colour reproduction good. The image above is one of the versions of Mount Shasta from his short California series begun in 1926 after he and his wife became American citizens.

Copies of journal 25 are available at £8 plus P&P from Use the Art UK option. Fletcher's Salinas River, California I (top) is available at $7,000 from Bill Carl. The first two editions of Woodblock Printing (above) contain different original prints by Fletcher and are occasionally available, sometimes inscribed by the artists who owned them. An essay about Walter Phillips by Nancy E. Green is contained in Walter J. Phillips (2013) from Pomegranate Press, Portland, Oregon, and is available online at £22.

Monday 25 January 2021

Eric Slater & the mystery of Icklesham Mill


As some of you will already know, Eric Slater's colour woodcut Tregenna Castle Hotel (below) is up for sale on ebay with only a couple of days left to go. Only yesterday a reader commented that Cornwall was outside his usual balliewick, a point that is valid in more ways than one. Slater has always been associated with the Sussex coast because he made chalk cliffs and Martello towers part of his stock-in-trade. But Slater was not as solitary as his lonely mills and Martello towers might suggest and was dependant on a number of people, not least his mother and grandmother who he always lived with.

James Trollope who owns the copyright to Slater's woodcuts likes to emphasise the influence of Arthur Rigden Read who he believes showed Slater how to make colour woodcuts after Slater moved to live not far from him at Winchelsea. Though I would not dispute that this is very likely true, there were others who had an effect, especially the Yorkshire artist, George Graham, who moved to Winchelsea in the early twenties and made a couple of colour woodcuts. The other is S.G. Boxsius who also worked in Sussex and in particular made a woodcut of Rottingdean Mill before he began making colour linocuts. 

Interestingly enough, Boxsius and his wife, Daisy, used to visit Devon and Cornwall and more than once old hotels and inns like the Crown Inn at Shaldon were the subject of his work. What is more to the point is how much better Icklesham Mill is than so much of Slater's work - and it is better for the debt he owes to Boxsius. The delicate use of pink, white and shadow against a cloudless sky is not very Slater and turns the centre of the print into a little Boxsius rather than the decorative stage-set we are all used to - and I am not denying that Slater doesn't have charm and appeal. I would buy one, but I was never prepared to stump up the kind of money people are prepared to pay.

The question is, though, where has Icklesham Mill been hiding all this time? And why is there no record of Slater exhibiting the print? Could it be that the print was a collaboration? Rottingdean Mill has the same small groups of houses to give the mill extra scale and, if anything, Slater handles light better than he does in Icklesham Mill. The light catching the sails and the depth of shadow at the back of the mill are particularly well done in Slater's naive way. But again it is the sense of calm and of background that is so Boxsius, especially the way the farther cliff is made into a second landscape. The print is subtle in a way so many of his prints never are. It was first exhibited in 1936 so it is quite late in his career  as a print artist. In all, the count I have based on James Trollope's catalogue is 45. This was some going between about 1926 and The stackyard, his final print apparently, in 1938. My feeling is work like Icklesham Mill may be later than that or simply remained. in his studio once he stopped exhibiting.

This doesn't answer the question why so many prints never seem to have been exhibited or why some work was only shown at the Sedon Galleries in Melbourne in 1932. Slater was a successful young printmaker by that point but most other artists exhibited at home and Australia came second. The answer was partly that Slater was taken up by the galleries as a bankable artist in the late twenties and early thirties just as much as he has been taken up by the print trade since the 1980s. One of his skills was to take what worked for other artists and to amalgamate them into his own. Given that his training at art school was limited, it isn't surprising that he had to learn on the job. Which brings me to Alfriston (above). The village is inland from Seaford where Slater lived so it is was on his patch. But is it the Slater we know? Not to me it isn't. The figures and the space are so much better handled than they are elsewhere in his work. The man in the cap creates a social space as he watches the people conversing. The figures also gives the scene greater depth by introducing exact scale. Slater's vases of flowers like his Tulips are sociable too but so far as I am aware this is the only place an everyday social space occurs in Slater's work. Not only that, it is very similar to Boxsius' Corfe Castle where the women on the grass are sketching the inn and the castle beyond them. My guess is that Slater sometimes needed considerable tuition. Beyond that, when his grandmother and then his mother died, the colour woodcuts died too. I find it odd than James had not found these two titles after all the work he had done (although a giclee print is now for sale). But there are others still missing for you to look out for and that he did record in his book, notably Stonehenge at sunrise and An inn by the sea - one of his better titles.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

The gospel according to Walter


Walter Phillips was never slow to give an opinion and often had the opportunity to do so either in his newspapers columns in Canada or in books he wrote like The technique of colour woodcut. Amongst  number of other things he had done, Phillips had been a journalist in South Africa and came from a family where literature and the Bible were important. He had also been a tutor in Latin at Great Yarmouth and he  knew how to write well. What was unusual about Phillips and what doesn't doesn't helps to sort out fact from fiction was the publication of a biography by Duncan Campbell Scott in 1947 when Phillips was sixty-three. I have not read the book but it has meant there has been far more of Phillips' biography available than there has been for comparable artists. The problem is that all the information appears to have come directly from the artist and as I read through some of his other writing, I soon became sceptical.

The only training Phillips ever received was the classes he attended at Birmingham School of Art as a schoolboy in Worcestershire. There was nothing unusual about that. Young people who had had to go to work at fourteen or fifteen often put in long hours at evening classes where they studied for national exams. Once he left school Phillips' working life seemed to have little plan. But then his upbringing has been unconventional. As a minister his father would move from one place to another on the preaching circuit and his family would follow and moving to Winnipeg may have been a way of finding a stable life his wife and young family as finding a satisfying way of making a living himself. Either way the most important thing for Phillps was to be self-sufficient in whatever goal he set himself whether it was making prints or writing books and in this respect he was quite a lot like Allen Seaby.

Many of his friends and contemporaries like William Giles and Yoshijiro Urushibara had had very thorough training and both had spent time working in Paris where he said he had always wanted to go himself. Giles had taken Frank Morley Fletcher's class in colour woodcut at Reading (at least for a while) as Seaby had and Urushibara had trained as a carver and printer with the firm of Shimbi Shoin in Tokyo. How Phillips came to make colour woodcuts is another thing and given all that we know about Phillips it has always perplexed me that we know so little about he began. That he learned to make very good colour woodcuts like Mount Rundle (top,1951) and Gloaming (above, 1921) I would not dispute but the story he tells about how he got there doesn't always add up.

He and his wife emigrated to Canada in 1913 and he found a job as art master at St. John's College in Winnipeg. Up until then, he had been a water-colourist but when a friend went to serve in France, he left Phillips with access to his etching press, equipment and paper. Phillips made 29 etchings and then completely stopped in 1917 and suddenly began making colour woodcuts like Winter (above) instead. This was pretty good for a first colour woodcut and presupposes a lot of experiment before he could produce such an attractive print. The American curator and pioneering scholar, Nancy E. Green, said Phillips had had an epiphany; Phillips said he was at heart a colourist and that he was not very interested in line and for those reasons found etching unsatisfactory. But what did happen that was so important to him? Neither Green nor Phillips say but Modern Printmakers believes it has the answer.

Phillips himself confused the issue when he recalled a short piece about colour woodcut technique written by Allen Seaby for The Studio in 1919. He said he went back and looked at this article and it helped him improve his technique but this has never really rung true for me. Green says this was 'his first professional encounter with other woodcuts artists' but I wonder because the Seaby article was accompanied by no less than six of Phillips' woodcuts, including one in full colour. This must have been co-ordinated. Apart from that, you would hardly forget such an important breakthrough and the following year the National Gallery of Canada bought nineteen of his colour woodcuts, possibly as  result. I don't think Phillips was being disingenuous but I do think we have all been guilty of reading too much into what Phillips himself said about the matter. Facts count.

Phillips was not only hard-working, he was also a perfectionist and placed importance on being self-sufficient. Self-improvement was also high on the Victorian value scale and you would expect someone as productive as Phillips to make advances. All the same it is true that after 1919 Phillip's woodcuts became more proficient. By the time Phillips was writing, he and Seaby were friends and exchanged cards every Christmas. Seaby also owned three of Phillips' woodcuts and Phillip's as a friend naturally wanted to acknowledge a debt. What Phillips did acknowledge in 1919 was that Studio articles had already provided 'helpful stimulus'. Possibly the first was a mention of Ethel Kirkpatrick's Mount's Bay in a review in 1917. Colour woodcut was in the news. The previous autumn, John Hogg had published Fletcher's Woodblock printing, the first account in English of the Japanese method and in the next volume The Studio published Malcolm Salaman's article 'The colour print' accompanied by five illustrations including Giles Sand dunes, Denmark (above) and E.A. Verpilleux' Search lights, Trafalgar Square (above). These are the colour woodcuts Phillips saw in 1917.

Other prints included were Ada Collier's Venetian boats and Giles' A pastoral. I have never been able to track either of these down but have included Collier's image of a Venetian trabacola (above) as a useful substitute. These were the cause his epiphany (and I think Nancy Green was correct to place such emphasis on the moment) and puts the remark he made about Seaby into perspective. The Collier print and Gloaming have a good deal in common. The same can be said for the Giles print and Winter, especially in the detail of the background. Perhaps more importantly, Salaman says that Collier 'learned the craft of the woodblock from Mr. Giles.' Some time after this, Phillips began a correspondence with Giles and when Phillips explained that sizing the paper was presenting the most difficulty, Giles bought Urushibara in to give advice. So what happened here?

Phillips admitted he had never seen a Japanese colour woodcut when he began making them himself and it was not until he found a shop selling them on a visit to Chicago that he was able to buy any and start a collection. All he was doing here was following the contemporary art school method of giving the student a teaching example to follow as a model of good practice. But there would have been no need to have taken them home to study. The exceptional surface quality achieved by the Japanese printers would have been apparent to Phillips straightaway. This was so significant to him in 1925 Phillips went to Giles studio on the Kings Road in London to meet Urushibara who turned up with alum and brushes and proceeded to apply the size with the expertise that impressed everyone who was lucky enough to see him at work.

But there was even more to his epiphany than this. England did not have one school of colour woodcut, it had two. Salaman's article listed a number of artists who had studied with Fletcher, including Giles and it might have been as easy for Phillips to have written to Fletcher. At the time he had not heard about Woodblock printing and said he would have saved himself a lot of difficulties if he had. Nevertheless he eventually aligned himself with Giles and later joined in the criticisms that were made of Fletcher and the doctrinaire approach he took to teaching and to colour woodcut method. Salaman (whose sympathies lay with Giles) characterised Fletcher's followers as the Anglo-Japanese. Being more forthright, Phillips described colour woodcut as a cult. At face-value this looks surprising coming from someone who is now famous for colour woodcuts but it only shows how far Phillips was a creature of his time and perceived important differences that no-one today would bother about (unless you were studying the subject that is). But he said it nevertheless and one clue to what he meant is the judicious way Phillips used the key-block. Winter did not have one at all and even as he moved forward, the key-block never played the role that it did in the work of Fletcher, Seaby, Mabel Royds or John Platt. As the son of a non-conformist minister, Phillips would have been all too aware of cults. What I think he was talking about was the cult of the Japanese print followed by the Anglo-Japanese and which Salaman summed up as 'a local fetish'. These divergences of opinion and the coteries that gave rise to are lost on us today. We are all too busy with our own.

Sunday 10 January 2021

Ohara Koson: prints & signatures


Recently I advised readers to mug up on the signature of the Japanese artist and printmaker, Ohara Koson. All very well, but it is not as straightforward as that, but nevertheless well worth the try. Koson in fact used three different signatures at different stages of his career and I am going to include an illustration of the different kinds he used. Even here though it isn't foolproof because script and seal on prints I own diverge from the ones illustrated although not all that much.

Here is a general rule-of-thumb from someone who has been picking up the odd Koson print for many years. Koson worked in the kacho-e genre (or bird and flowers) as Allen Seaby and Hans Frank did. Once you have the bird subject, you only have to look at the signature to get the general idea because it doesn't alter all that much. When I found the eagle (top) in an antiques centre in the 1980s, I showed it to my students from Hong Kong who read it as go-don. What does alter is the manner.The lapwing (below) which I picked up in Caernarfon two or three years ago apparently dates from 1930 and has a noticeably sparer and more modern style than others. As I said, sometimes the tonality of the print is different. a

One thing you will need to accept is that the prints wont always be in good condition. My eagle is not only laid down on thick card, the card (and print) is dented from the back. But then it only cost me a tenner and it is currently on sale in London for £450. What's not to like? Some are scratched, some are stained. I think so long as they aren't faded, it doesn't matter. I also own the pair of geese (second from the top) and the paper is rather burnt, something I try my best to ignore. Koson was a great designer who was consistent and varied. This is what we need to bear in mind. You don't say to yourself, 'Do I like this one?' You just buy it. And on the plus side you can still find them in period frames.

Koson trained as a fine artist and went on to teach at the Tokyo School of Fine Art. In Tokyo he met the American scholar and orientalist, Ernest Fenellosa, who had returned to Japan to work in 1897. He left for good in 1900 and some time before that encouraged Koson to take up traditional forms, including woodblock. Koson worked with his first publisher, Daikokuya, from about 1904 to 1905 but returned to painting in 1912 when he adopted the name Shoson. Inevitably perhaps in 1926 he began working with Shozaburo Wantanabe (and continued to work under the name Shoson, the signature you will most commonly see). This was an important career move for two reasons. Wantanabe had first worked in the print export field and now all his prints were sold in large numbers in the United States and Europe. Wantanabe also believed Japanese woodblock had degenerated because the carvers and printers had stopped working in collaboration with designers, leaving the prints looking stereotyped and lifeless. This approach was borne out by Elizabeth Keith who was dumbfounded to find the carvers reproduced every small mistake she made. But it was no different for the artisans who were appalled by the way Keith broke with tradition.

But Wantanabe knew what he was doing. Not only was his wife the daughter of a carver, he was also a master of publicity and the year Koson went to work for him an account praising the working practices of his studio and written by the Japanese art historian, Jiro Harada, appeared in The Studio magazine. Eventually, Koson made designs for 500 kacho-e prints, all of them exported, which explains why you can still find a pair of them in north Wales for sale at £37 in 2018 - and I thought that was each. Yet it was not only a matter of large numbers. Another reason the prints may have survived in such good basic condition were the standards used in Wantanabe's workshops. Having supplied different kinds of wood to his carvers, he settled on wild cherry, the wood publishers had used in the old days, and his printers worked with good quality inks and fine hosho paper. Workshops had been adapting Western styles and techniques for a long time. While training in Tokyo, Yoshijiro Urushibara had learned to engrave on boxwood to prevent the fine detail from wearing after long print runs. Admittedly there are many prints by Koson that will look cloying to some. There are many more that do not and the ones that diverge subtly from standard practice like the irises (above) and are printed on a square sheet rather than oban, can be some of the most appealing. To ourselves, it still looks very Japanese. I have no doubt to a Japanese collector of the 1930s, it would have seemed a travesty.

Tuesday 5 January 2021

The shin hanga woodcuts of Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

During the twenties, the American illustrator, Cyrus Leroy Baldridge and his wife, Caroline Singer, travelled extensively in the east, arriving in Pekin some time in 1924 or 1925. While there he made various watercolours and drawings of the walls and precincts of the old city. When the couple moved on to Tokyo, they met the print publisher Shozaburo Wantanabe who had already worked with a small number of Western artists as well as artists from Japan. As some of you will already know, I am not a great fan of any of the work Wantanabe did with his Western artists but what they were doing was always interesting and Baldridge in particular is nowhere near as expensive as Elizabeth Keith or Charles Bartlett.

In 1915 Wantanabe had had his first great success with Goyo Hashiguchi's Woman in a bathroom and came up with the term shin hanga, or new print, as a way of marketing his artists. Sadly artists like Hashiguchi were not only talented, they were also disloyal and soon went off, found craftsmen to make their prints and published them themselves. This was not an option for Western artists like Bartlett and Keith and as they arrived in Tokyo, Wantanabe nobbled them and set them to work making prints for him. Keith didn't even like being in Japan and always preferred Korea, China and Moro Island, but Tokyo was where the work was.

Not all that long before Baldridge and Singer arrived Wantanabe's publishing business had been struck by disaster. On 1st September, 1923, Honshu Island was subjected to a devastating earthquake and many of the blocks that Wantanabe's craftsmen had made, including all of Keith's, had been destroyed.  Keith was still working with him when Baldridge arrived and so far as I can see, he was the last of the Westerners to be taken up by Wantanabe. By my reckoning there was a portfolio of six prints only published in 1925. As you can see from Peking Market (above) there were all on japan and I believe came in editions of 200. All were inscribed by Baldridge but not always with the full title. You might just get 'Peking 25' and at least one of them is inscribed no. 204. Many people also credit Singer but I have no idea what she actually did.

Going by the watercolour of Peking South Gate, the studio didn't always do Baldridge's work justice. I assume Wantanabe chose the subjects and Baldridge worked on the designs for the block-cutter. Six was the number of prints he had used when Bartlett worked in Tokyo and all the prints Baldridge made are here, including Evening Peking (top) and Peking - Pailou (second down). As late as autumn 1954, Baldridge had a show of prints at the California State Library at Sacramento when he still had prints for sale. This barely seems credible today but the majority were drypoints and going by the list (above) the six colour woodcuts of Peking were all he ever made. So far as I am aware no one has put this definitive Sacramento catalogue and all the images together in one place before.

But where did the idea come from? The subjects are similar to the ones chosen by the British artist, Katharine Jowett, who began  making colour linocuts of the old city some time during the twenties. Coal Hill (second and third above) was not only common to both artists, the view is identical, with Baldridge's print only deeper in order to conform with the oban sheet. This is very curious and suggests one print was copied from the other. But there is more. Some of my readers are fortunate enough to own a proof of Isabel de B. Lockyer's superior linocut Chateau de Blonay from 1924 (first above) and will note the similarity between Baldridge's Coal Hill and de B. Lockyer's image. Whether Jowett was making linocuts by 1925 no one knows. The choice of the ancient city as a subject may seem an obvious one, but Keith never bothered with this topographical approach. Nor did anyone else, including Bertha Lum, who spent long periods working in the city.  The Hanga Gallery (where a lot of these images come from) in Durham, North Carolina (and, no, they don't have any for sale) give only five titles, but this must be wrong. The other two are Peking Winter (below) and Peking South Gate (bottom).

All were produced in the old oban size and vary in their effectiveness. Peking Winter is the best of the lot for my money, but as I have never seem any of them in front of me, it is wise not to be too judgemental. I am sure all were made to the highest standards but Wantanabe's craftsmen varied their approach between intensive use of keyblock and hardly any. A number I think are flat but will certainly look better once you see them. But that is Baldridge anyway, an illustrator making use of the loquacious, muscular style popular in the U.S. between the wars and it tends to jar. They certainly capture the atmosphere of an oriental city despite that. Take away the style of the architecture and the scenes he depicts could be anywhere in the great cities of northern Morocco and the choice of twilight and different times of year is astute, subtle and telling. You just have to decide whether or not you like them. One thing I will say is, though, you wont be finding any of them at Camden Market or on the Portobello Road.

In a day or two I will be adding a second post about the watercolours and drawings following the comment made below by Scott Williams.

Friday 1 January 2021

The colour woodcuts of Wilfred Rene Wood


Wilfred Wood is an artist with whom you need to exercise a degree of judgement. He turned out large numbers of chocolate-box watercolours (and a few colour woodcuts) that belie the thorough training he had at Manchester School of Art, the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the Slade. He was born in the Cheshire village of Cheadle Hulme in 1888 but the only records of him exhibiting colour woodcuts were in 1938 when he showed Cadaques (below) alongside Cineraria and Ronda Bridge. I have com across only twelve colour woodcuts and have included all the ones I think have real merit. I have never come across either Cineraria or Ronda Bridge and no doubt there are one or two others lying around somewhere.

One interesting aspects of Wood's prints is the influence of the poster designs and colour linocuts of the thirties. Wood produced at last one poster showing Michaelmas  Daisies for London Underground and although he could use the woodblock with great assurance as he did in the view below, it was print like Willows, Cambridge (top) and Cadaques where his mastery of colour and design were most apparent. In Cadaques he relied solely on perspective and shadow to build the print. There was falling back on outline and it is little wonder he was in Arezzo in 1922 to see Piero della Francesca's frescos. His subtle use of pure colour and his sense of harmony were as much as part of Piero's own work as perspective was. Few of the colour woodcut artists of the period showed as much sympathy with the work of the European masters apart from S.G. Boxsius.

His academic concern with architecture and perspective led him in an unusual direction. In 1920 he moved into Rudall Crescent in Hampstead and began recording old buildings in the area. A couple of years afterwards, he began to travel widely, including to Italy. But Tangier got the better of him. The town is celebrated for its disorientating shifts of perspective as the streets and arches change direction on the steep hillside. Wood had a conventional view of place and as he began to travel in England and Wales, recording the old streets of Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich and Tenby he discovered a metier that led on to commissions to record towns like Stamford and Peterborough that were threatened with development. In 1937, he moved to Barnack a couple of miles outside Stamford.


So where did he come across colour woodcut? Going by the feel of his prints, my hunch is he got to know Kenneth Broad while serving in the Artists Rifles during the first war. Cadques is quite a lot like Broad's A Sussex Farm (1925). His street scenes were also close to the views Broad made of Croydon and Hastings in the thirties. Wood was less quirky than Broad and had a better sense of what made a picture The other ghost in the machine is Yoshijiro Urushibara. It is the very subtle way Wood played off shadow and the rich keyblock against shades of pink and ochre that reminds me of the 1919 Bruges portfolio Urushibara made with Brangwyn (immeadiately above). The conventional view should not distract from the elegance of the procedure, particularly his handling of early morning light and colour. As we looked down the street (below), we would be forgiven for thinking the tower towards the end belonged to the Palazzo Medici and that the distinguished town of Oxford has somehow morphed into the far more distinguished city of Florence. Wood took it even further when he gave Olde England (above) the definitive pinks, ochres and volcanic greys of Naples. Wood's travels told on him. Everywhere he went in England, it reminded him of somewhere else, not as nice as Hampstead probably, but more vigorous, more exciting, more youthful.