Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Rudolf Köhl (1896-1966)

This posting had previously been published as  "Today's mystery print - Köhne - Linolschnitt" asking for help identifying the linocut shown below, which is annotated "origin linolschnitt handdruck" and signed in pencil "Köhne" ?? At least that is how I read the signature.

Another one of those Austrian/German prints that has found it's way to us in the UK. Sadly during it's journey the artist has become a mystery. I have run the usual google searches but have found nothing similiar. There was an Ida Köhne (1907-2005), but this does not look like her style.

Thanks to The Linosaurus ( who suggested the signature should read as Köhl. He clearly knows his subject as the signature does read Köhl and relates the Austrian graphic artist Rudolf Köhl (1896-1966).

There is some biographical information to be found but his lasting legacy seems to be the numerous books that he illustrated. Rudolf was born in Vienna in 1896 the son of Joseph , an architect and builder. He servied in the army during WW1 on both the Eastern and Western fronts and as a prisoner. After, in 1919 he began an apprenticeship in graphic design at the School of Applied Art in Vienna.

I assume he successfully completed his study as he went to work as a commercial designer, illustrating books, posters, brochures, company stationary and product design. He also; must have found time to create the linocut and ex libris plates illustrated here. Perhaps outside his normal commercial duties.

Here is a book illustrated by Rudolf and a plate from another publication. The "ex libris" plate below is signed in pencil just like my original linocut. - Mystery solved. 

And another coloured picture. 

All these pictures above are forsale at;jsessionid

Internet references

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Prints that Travel

An interesting conundrum was highlighted in a comment by The Linosaurus on my Sidonius Schrom posting. He wondered "how these very typical Austrian prints came to the UK" whilst they are "very sought after and highly collectable in Austria"

In my travels I come across quite a few small scale pictures of Alpine and Tyrolean views including woodblocks and linocuts, although not always by artists that currently have a following or a commercial value. I think these must have been a superior grade of tourist souvenir and possibly the reason they are now sought after locally is that so many were taken out of their home region that they are now rarely seen in their area of origin. 

I guess these works of art came from a period when such travels were costly and only the wealthy could afford the expense. Perhaps these wealthy travellers were unlikely to be satisfied with usual tourist trivia such as a postcard or a doll in traditonal dress ?? So bought affordable art to remind them of their holiday.

Also perhaps the same is true for artists that had a local market but a limited export or wider international following. If a large proportion of works were sold locally and remained locally then it would perhaps follow that there would be little local interest as they are common, which would in turn restrict their values. I would suggest an artist like Ernst Rotteken as an example. Plenty of excellent woodblock prints still to be found for sale in his home Detmold area.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sidonius Schrom

I thought I would share this picture with you.

I bought this a few months ago at an antiques market after being attracted to the light and colour and sense of space, a bit like Engelbert Lap or Paul Leschorn. It was not too expensive but I still had some reservations about buying it. By that time I had not bought a thing and wondered whether I was having a "must buy something" moment. Also; I could not read the signature and the only visible signature was on a paper mount ! was the print signed ?

So - I bought it and took it back home to start the research. The first plus was that I found another signature on the print, that was a relief, but I just could not decipher the signature - Schramm, Schranm, Schrumm and so on - no luck. So to Google Images for a try - German Woodblock Tyrol Lap, you know all the usual key words

- and there he was Sidonius Schrom (1902-1960) or more correctly Sidonius von Schromm. - see comments.

There does not seem to be much information about his life and works, but what there is can be found on the blog Art and the Aesthete @

Monday, 22 August 2011

Print Techniques Thesaurus

We all search the internet trying to find rare and interesting prints to look at and buy.  However, I have often failed to trace the non-anglo artists because I do not know the French, German or Dutch technical names for the various printing methods.

So, here is your opportunity to help me with your advise on the names of printing methods.

English German French Dutch Italian
Intaglio Printing aquatint aquateint
dry point point-seche droge naald
engraving gravure gravure
etching gravure
mezzotint mezzoteint
Relief Printing collagraph collographie
linocut Linolschnitt linosnede
colour linocut Farblinolschnitt kleuren linosnede
woodblock Holzschnitt houtsnede
woodcut Holzschnitt houtsnede
colour woodcut Farbholzschnitt kleuren houtsnede
wood engraving hout gravure
Lithograph Lithografie Lithographie lithographie Litografica
Silkscreen Siebdrucke zeefdruk
Serigraph serigraphie
Stencils pochoir stencil

There many other variation on these techniques, some almost personal to the artists and without universal or established names. Some printed works do not fall within the usual perception of "the print", that of creating multiple copies of basically the same composition. Methods such as monotypes and monoprints create unique printed images and should be considered with original paintings.

So here is your chance to help - please let me know your translations, suggestion or corrections for the British term listed. I will update when new terms are confirmed.

Thanks to Gerrie The Linosaurus for his assistance.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Menin Gate

This posting was inspired by the recent purchase of an etching and the long time ownership of a pottery Lion.

To the armies of The British Empire who stood here 1914-1918
and those of their dead who have no known grave

These are the words inscribed on the east side of the memorial just below the seated Lion. The pottery model below is a copy of the Lion made the Ashtead Potters.

The Menin Gate is the memorial to the missing servicemen of the British Empire who fell in the Ypres Salient during World War 1. It bears the names of over 56,000 soldiers of the British Empire who died between November 1914 and 15th/16th August 1917 and have no known grave. Their names are engraved in Portland stone panels fixed on to the building. Another memorial, The Tyne Cot Memorial at Passchendaele, lists a further 35,000 names of men  who disappeared in the Salient between 16th August 1917 and the end of the war. The Memorial was completed in 1927 and since then the Last Post has been sounded every evening.

The memorial is a monumental sculpture in it's own right, a work of art that sends a clear message about the human sacrifice of the First World War, which can be read as a memorial to the individuals or as a statement of the futility of war.

Who were these artists ?

The Menin Gate was designed in 1921 by Sir Reginald Blomfield (1856-1942) and paid for by the British Government. Blomfield was already an established architect when chosen to design the gate. He had previously designed; alterations to Chequers, Regents Streets' Quadrant, Heathfield Park,  and a string of public and university buildings. Many of the decorative features on the gate, including the Lion on top of the arch were designed and carved by Sir William Reid Dick (1879-1961).

William was a Scottish born sculptor who was an apprentice stonemason when he enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art in 1899. He worked as an art teacher and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1908. He went on to exhibit 108 work there during the course of his career and was elected a full RA member in 1928. He went on to become the "King's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland" in 1938. He served in the army during WW1, after joining the Territorial Army in the 5th London Field Ambulance section of the Royal Army Medical Corps, subsequently he transferred to the 3rd Army Field Survey Co, part of the Royal Engineers and then the 7th Field Survey Co as a photographer.

The pottery version of the Lion was made by the Ashtead Potters in c1929/30; a pottery set up to employ disabled servicemen from the war. Whether these models were sold as souvenirs or to raise money for the memorial, I do not know. Touching that ex-servicemen were employed to create these lions as a memorial to their fallen comrades. The Ashtead Potters were establsihed in 1923 by Sir Lawrence Weaver and ran until it's closure in 1935. Many of the figural works were designed established artists such as Reid Dick, Phoebe Stabler, Allon Wyon and Donald Gilbert. See -

The etching was created by the artist Graham Barry Clilverd (born 1883). Like Reid Dick, he served in France in the Royal Engineers, in his case in the Camouflage section. He was a successful etcher exhibiting widely including at the Royal Academy, Walker Gallery, Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Society of British Artist. Sadly, his art has fallen out of favour despite its technical excellence.

These are all beautiful works of art and all have been heavily influenced by the effects of war.

Internet references;,_Sir_William_Reid_(1879-1961)_Knight_Sculptor

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Mary Macrae White

Today's offering is fine wood block print of horses with natives against a north african ? landscape. My immediate reaction when first seeing this at a market was Mabel Royds. No, it is signed Mary Macrae White.

Sadly there is little information out there on this artist, although some recent research has raised more questions than answer ? more of that later. First of all what we do know. She was born in Aberdeen as Mary Macrae and was married to James Martin White (1857-1928), a Liberal Party politician from 1898 until 1912. The references books list her as a figure painter living variously in London, Dundee and Edenbridge in Kent from c1910. She exhibited from 1893 until 1919 including works at Glasgow Institute of the Fine Art (1 work), International Society (1), London Salon (3), Nottingham City Art Gallery (1), Royal Society of British Artists (2) and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (1).

The wikipedia listing for her husband states that after their divorce (his infidelity) Mary went on to became a successful artist in America but does not provide any detail. I was able to trace a touching letter by commercial artist Antonio Petruccelli, one of her former students in whilst she taught ? at Greenwich House, New York in which he describes her as a "not-too-well-known-painter" (click on the letter to enlarge and read). Greenwich House was and still is a charitable organisation with the mission "to help individuals and families lead more fulfilling lives by offering social and health services, cultural and educational programs, and opportunities for civic involvement to New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds."

Antonio Petruccelli was a talented commerical artist and illustrator, whose was responsible for many of the front cover artwork used by the Fortune magazine. Here are a few to illustrate his talent.

As I often find myself saying - these artists lead complicated lives !

Here is an odd twist - if I have interpreted the article correctly. There is an eBook available to read online of Poems by Henry Bryan Binns (1873-1923) titled The Wanderer and other Poems, published in 1910. In which there are two poems under the title "For two pictures by Mary Macrae White". Amazing not only has she inspired people to paint; her pictures have inspired poetry. Below are the poems - I wonder where these pictures are now.

Henry Bryan Binns is described as Fruit grower, poet, author, founding force of Letchworth Garden City. Wrote biography of Abraham Lincoln for Everyman series and for sometime lived in Kent. Which is 2 miles up the road from Edenbridge, where Mary lived before moving to New York

The Clearing

CLEAR me a little space among the trees,
April will brim it up with primroses.
Nay, as with ruthless axe you pluck adown
This coppice, silver-grey and purple-brown,
Ere yet the January sun hath found
Time to evoke a new leaf from the ground,
Even already then, your clearing fills
With blossom delicate as the blue hills
And sweet as the wild wisdom that distils
Among the old leaves sodden in tlie mire, —
— The wayward smoke of the woodcutter's fire.

The Gipsy's Looking-Glass.

For you, it is a pool among the trees
That you could scoop (almost) between your hands,
A little black pool, bordered with green grass :
But some who look upon it as they pass,
And how it opens inward and expands
Wizardly, — cross themselves : for unto these
It hath a magic mightier than the sea's,
Old witchcrafts manier than the moonlit sands.
And it is called " The Gipsy's Looking-Glass."

As you can see, I have struggled to find any other photos to illustrate this posting - I thought I had when an old auction listing came up - Mary Macrae, Watercolour, inscribed artist's label verso, "Water Daisies, Staffhurst Wood" , sadly it dated back to 1996 and no photo. Staffhurst Wood  ? amazing; Turn right at the end of my road and I'm there. I run through the wood most days and it is not too far from Edenbridge.

A few twists and turn in this little bit of research - Scotland to New York to Home ?

Monday, 15 August 2011

more Austen Brown

Here a little more ........ to tease and may be to buy.

You may have notices in my original posting I included a picture of a page titled "A Bit of Chelsea" ten original lithographs by T Austen Brown published by The Macrae Gallery, 16 Fulham Road, SW3. This is also the address given for The Colour Woodcut Society whose contact was Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen Brown. I wonder what the connection was?

The Colour Woodcut Society seems to have been established in 1920 by Frank Morley Fletcher and others? to promote the Japanese woodcut method of printing.They held selling exhibitions of work by such artists as John Hall Thorpe, John Edgar Platt, Ian Cheyne (1895-1955), Eric Hesketh Hubbard, Marion Gill (1879-1959), Jean Armitage, Ada Louise Collier (1870-1948), Kenneth Broad (president)  with the exhibitions being held at various locations including above a Japanese restaurant in Cavendish Square (1923)

I can't find out what the connection to the Brown's was, perhaps they were member and that year she was their secretary ?

This was a bit of an aside to the real reason for this posting. I meant to feature the publication "Bits of Chelsea ten original lithographs by T Austen Brown, text by A MacCallum Scot MP" Published by The Macrae Gallery, 16 Fulham Raod, SW3 c 1920. 

This appears to be a folio/book published as an "Edition de Luxe" with 75 signed and number copies, which in addition to the 10 lithograph contains one signed original colour woodcut of  the "River Thames at Battersea"

There are several copies for sale about the web with very different price tags, including at; with photograph of the woodcut and at - direct link

Another edition by Thomas Austen Brown and the Macrae Gallery that contain signed original prints is Etaples published 1920.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mr & Mrs Austen-Brown Printmakers

Those of you who are both woodblock print fans and eBayers, may have noticed that seller art****636 has listed several unsigned prints by Thomas Austen-Brown. This reminded me of a stunning print I sold some time ago by his wife Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen-Brown and now having seen her husbands work - what a team !

I have always liked this picture and regret ever selling it, you can't keep them all. It had so much light and atmosphere, especially for a scene that is probably in late evening light ! I also regret not buying another print by her, some years after this purchase. I had one of those days - you know when you see something you like, vaguely recall the name, but can't quite remember, only to remember a few days later and you guessed right - it had sold !!

So who were they ?

The woodblock print above is signed E C A Brown and mark "imp" to indicate that was printed by the artist. Mrs Elizabeth Christie Austen-Brown (1869-1942) is listed as a painter and linocut artist who exhibited from 1903 until 1931 who was married to the artist Thomas Austen Brown. She exhibited widely including at; Goupil Gallery 1 work, International Society 1, Walker Gallery 11, Nottingham Art Gallery 11, Royal Society of British Artists 23, Redfern Gallery 3, Ridley Art Club 1, Royal Institute of Oil Painters1 and Royal Scottish Academy 2 works. She was a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists from 1926.

There are works by her in several public collections, including; The British Council (and Thomas). Her work also appeared in The Studio magazine with a wood engraving titled "The Shepard and his Flock" used to illustrated a 1910 article written by William Lee Hankey called "The Society of Gravure Printers in Colour". She also ran The Colour Wood-cut Society c1925 with a contact address of 16 Fulham Road, London.

Thomas Austen Brown (1857-1924) seems to be more documented. We know he was born in Edinburgh and studied at Royal Scottish Academy schools and travelled extensively including Trepied and Etaples, France. Again like his wife there is an extensive history of exhibited work including at; Agnew's 1, Royal Society of Artists 8, Fine Art Society 42, Grosvenor Gallery 11, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 34, Goupil Gallery 4, International Society 11, Walker Gallery 46, Leicester Gallery 56, Manchester City Art Gallery 17, Nottingham Gallery 19, Royal Society of Portrait Painters 5, Royal Academy 31, Royal Hiberian Academy 1, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 13, Royal Institute of Oil Painters 9 and Royal Scottish Academy 99. That is a lot of pictures, so I assume that he was successful. He also exhibited abroad winning prizes and class medals at print exhibitions in Munich, Dresden, Barcelona and Budapest from 1896-1911.

He seems to have worked in oil, watercolour, etching and woodblock. His subjects include landscapes and portraits. Although most of his larger scale oils were "genre" subjects. The rural idyll much loved in the late Victorian era. Lots of farmers and milk maids with cows, beautiful but sadly now fallen out of favour. A multi talented artist.

His wood block prints are excellent, great composition, good colour, full of light and space. See for more pictures and the ones below are the unsigned proofs being sold on ebay.

I have assumed these two were married to each other, I seem to recall that after I sold her print that I was contacted by a collector who confirmed my original assumption.

NOTE - Soon after completing this posting, I realised I had been beaten to it !! See for his view on the subject.

Internet references;

Friday, 12 August 2011

Elsie Garrett Rice - Printmaker

Back from my trip into the applied art of the British Arts and Crafts movement to more familiar ground - woodblock prints and printmakers.

This print is a recent purchase at a popular antiques market on the south west corner of London. I spotted this leaning against the side of a van turning to Candice I enquire "what do you think, like it?" eerrr well its faded, look like its foggy !! Well it is titled "Misty Morning" -- so turning to the seller "what der yer know about it mate" - "well, its signed, chinese I think" (she may have meant japanese) -- "but its signed Janet Rice!" -- after a bit more negotiations I paid a price and was happy with my purchase, except - who was the artist?

Before you correct me, I could see it was actually signed E Garrett Rice, who is listed as Mrs E Garrett Rice of Coventry and who exhibited in the 1920's including 3 works at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham and 6 works at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. What else can we find ??

I think I have found a possible - Elsie Garret Rice (1869-1959), she was listed in the 1891 census as an artist living as a visitor in Epsom, Surrey. She had studied at the Slade School of Art, London before teaching at Bedales. She and her twin brother had been born in Elton, Derbyshire and she went to school in West Bromwich. In 1901 she is recorded as living Hampstead and later in South Africa where she illustrated "Wild Flowers of the Cape of Good Hope" written by Robert Harold Compton.

Luckily I was able to find a photo of the front cover of the book which was illustrated and more importantly signed by Elsie. See right - confirmation that I have found the correct artist. Some of the illustrations from this book were reproduced by the Medici Society as a series of postcards - "Medici Wild Flower Series (South Africa) c1954
And a photograph of her in later life. 

Annex Galleries have another woodcut titled "Woodloes Manor" for sale. That one is dated 1931, signed in pencil but without an edition size. Woodloes House is in Warwickshire and shown in the photo below.

She also wrote articles on art education including one titled "Child Artist. By Mrs. E. Garrett Rice" found in an 1902 edition of the "Parent's Review - A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture"

More information has arrived - courtesy of her grandchildren. She also illustrated the field guide "Common Succulents" by Harry Hall (1906-86) published by Longman in 1953. She spent her later years in South Africa.

Internet references;

Thursday, 11 August 2011

U X Z is for HELP

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware

Sorry  - I have failed to find any  U X or Z metalworkers or guilds.

Any suggestions.

Here ends this alphabet. I was more difficult than I thought it would be. I might return to some of those subjects in the future as there is some exquisite work out there. In the near future I think I will return to print makers.

Y is for Yattendon

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - Y is for Yattendon.

The Yattendon Class was a metalwork class for local men and boys which flourished from c1890 until c1914. It was established by a Elizabeth Waterhouse the wife of the architect Alfred Price Waterhouse (Natural History Museum) and based at the Manor of Yattendon in Berkshire. The designs were by Mrs Waterhouse and other members of the family. I can't established who the metalwork tutor was, although the name John Williams is often quoted.

They were affiliated to Home Arts and Industries Association and regularly exhibited at the annual show at the Albert Hall. Items were also retailed by Liberty & Co.

Internet references include;

W is for Williams

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - W is for John Williams (working 1890 - 1915)

He was a metalworker and a member of the Guild of Handicraft and later under his own name at Fivemiletown, The Newton Class and probably at Yattendon. His name frequently appears in the Studio Magazine often referring to his work a Filemiletown. For example in the July 1896 edition's article The Home Arts and Industres at the Albert Hall, several works by him are detailed. A Mirror Frame and Cup both designed by "J Williams, Filemiletown"

I have had some difficulties tracing pictures of fully attributed items. The chalice shown here was illustrated in "The Arts & Crafts Magazine" volume 1/2 from 1904. The caption with this states "designed by John Williams, executed by John Williams and D W Evans, wrought silver chalice set with cairngorns"

There are plenty of pictures of metalware attributed to Yattendon and some from Filemiletown.

Internet references;

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

V is for Veazey

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - V is for David Veazey,

Metalwork designer, including for Liberty & Co. It is recorded that they made a silver caddy spoon designed by Veazey as the winning design  in a competition organised by Liberty through 'The Studio' magazine in 1899. It was produced both in silver and, later in pewter, with the shape number 049C.

His work regularly appeared in such publications as "The Studio" and won several prizes for his design. In their 1900 competition he won first prize for a silver tea caddy design and in the 1903 competition he won 3 guineas for the design of a silver casket. He had entered as Tramp with an address of 27 Rectory Place, Woolwich.

Best remembered for his "For Old Times Sake" designs made by Liberty & Co, London. Which was typical of his design which tended to be very organic with stems growing into the vessel held up by the leaves. Often accompanied by a poetic quote such "Gather Roses While Ye May Old Time Is Fast A Flying" as on the bowl shown below.

His designs are often signed "Tramp". I can't find any detailed biographical information - perhaps some out there know ??

Internet references; - Scanned image and text by George P. Landow

T is for Traquair

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - T is for Phoebe Anna Ramsay Traquair (1852 – 1936)

Pheobe was an Irish artist who born and trained in Dublin but lived and worked in Edinburgh. She applied her talents to many media including; painting, murals, embroidery, enamel, book illustration and designing silver and jewellery decorated with painted enamels. Signed "PRT" I really can't do justice to the subject in such a short posting.

Her contribution to the art metalwork of the arts and crafts period are her hand painted enamel miniatures often mounted as jewellery or within larger scale items such as boxes or devotional triptychs. Many of her subjects have religious connections. Christ, Saints and angels are common motifs.

Other Blogs and Biographies found, include;

S is for Sankey

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - S is for Joseph Sankey & Son - JS&S

Perhaps not the most highly regarded of makers and even at their best they are not comparable to the likes of Omar Ramsden or Liberty's Cymric, but they made some very attractive and quality products. Items marked JS&S can be found in almost ever antique fair, shop or market and usually the seller has no idea who made them ! So after a bit of Googling I will try and shine a light on their pedigree.

Joseph Sankey (1826 - c1886) established in business in Bilston in the Black Country making blanks for the japaning industry and it would appear that the business was a success gradually absorbing other firms and expanding the range of products to include pressings for the then cutting edge electrical industry.

At some point c1890 until c1914 decorative brass and copper wares were introduced with hollow wares such as the many jugs, trays and domestic items seen today. Within these some where decorated with fashionable art nouveau or arts & crafts inspired patterns. I can't find any references to the designer of these patterns. These patterns where pressed into the metal, often with faux hammer marks. Some probably did have hand finishing but most were produced on an industrial scale. The company introduced the "Neptune Art Ware" range during this period and often you will find registered design numbers on items which protected the firm from others copying their successful designs.

From c1915 JS&S expanded into making car bodies and wheels, more industrial items rather than domestic hollow ware, pictured here. The firm continued suuccessfully for many years eventually becoming part of the GKN group of companies. The site of the Bilston factory is now a Morrisons supermarket.

For a better and fuller history of the firm go to - or