‘Print REbels: Haden, Palmer, Whistler & the Origins of the RE’, School of Art Gallery, 18 February – 3 May 2019

PrintREbelsPoster_webIn the Spring of 2018, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (the RE) marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder and its first President Sir Francis Seymour Haden, with Print REbels an exhibition which reflects on its past and present members, the history, and the legacy of the Society. The exhibition brings together a prestigious collection of prints by Haden and those who inspired him such as Rembrandt and Dürer and his contemporaries, including Samuel Palmer and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

The central narrative of Print REbels is the legacy of Haden and successive RE Presidents. Haden founded the Society of Painter-Etchers in 1880 which gained Royal status in 1888. His tireless campaigning to promote original, creative works in the medium of etching ultimately made him a revered establishment figure, earning him a knighthood in 1893.

Print REbels is the brainchild of Edward Twohig ARE, printmaker, collector, and Head of Art at Marlborough College. Twohig recognized the fact that printmakers such as Haden, Whistler and Palmer were rebelling against the prevailing notion in the mid-Victorian art world and in institutions such as the Royal Academy, that printmaking was merely a means of reproducing paintings and not a creative medium in its own right. Their work paved the way for the Etching Revival in Britain for the next 75 years.

samuel palmer rws the sleeping shepherd early morning 1857 etching on chine colle
The Sleeping Shepherd, Samuel Palmer, 1857, etching

Part of this exhibition includes the Print REbels Portfolio which comprises new works by current RE Members, made specifically in response to the Society’s heritage. Twenty-five of these works have been selected by Jenny Ramkalawon, Assistant Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum for a Print REbels boxset.

A large, fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. RE Members Anne Desmet and Joe Winkelman have compiled a detailed timeline of Sir Francis Seymour Haden’s life and its intertwining with the development of the RE. The catalogue features essays on Haden and his legacy by Elizabeth Harvey-Lee (Hon RE) and on the RE and 20th century printmaking by Aberystwyth University School of Art’s own Professor Robert Meyrick (Hon RE).

Pre-19th, 19th and 20th Century artists include: Seymour Haden, Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, JMW Turner, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Samuel Palmer, James Tissot, Claire Leighton, Paul Cezanne, Georges Braque and William Russell Flint.

sir francis seymour haden_sunset in ireland_1863_drypoint
Sunset in Ireland, Sir Francis Seymour Haden, 1863, drypoint

Mary Ellen Edwards – A Victorian Woman Illustrator

mary-ellen-edwards-later-mrs-freer-later-mrs-staples
Mary Ellen Edwards (later Mrs Freer, later Mrs Staples) by Unknown photographer, albumen carte-de-visite with black masking paint, 1860s, © National Portrait Gallery, London

Illustrator Mary Ellen Edwards was born to Mary (née Johnson, c.1809-1898) and Downes Edwards (c. 1805-1882) on the 6th November 1838 on her father’s farm in Surbiton just outside London. The family had nine children of which two died in infancy. The Edwards moved frequently. Her father was an engineer and inventor and had by 1848 enough funds to built a family residence, Ravenscliffe in Douglas on the Isle of Man. Eventually they settled in London and lived there at various addresses in fashionable parts of town such as Pimlico, South Kensington and Chelsea.

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Exploring the School of Art Collection 2017

Gathering Storm

Gathering Storm, Corinna Button, drypoint with monotype, 2006

Three women sit on a bench huddled close together. Backs to us, their arms wrap around each other snuggly, they look intimate and protected. Heads bent forward with faces close, these women are in the middle of a private moment, excluding the rest of the world. Rain falls from black clouds in the sky above, whilst overhead telephone wires stretch across poles from either side of the women, as if framing them. They are centre and focus of the print.

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History of Printmaking – Lifelong Learning course for 2018/19 starts 24th October

Coursers, Harry Morley, 1931, engraving

Did you know Aberystwyth University holds an outstanding collection of prints? If you would like to learn about the different ways prints are made, and get hands-on experience of our print collection, then History of Printmaking is for you. The course surveys the development of printmaking from the 15th century to the present with reference to the work of many famous artists including Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Piranesi, Gillray, Whistler and Picasso. By the end of the course you will know your mezzotint from your aquatint, have a good historical understanding of the role of the print in society and be able to start collecting prints with confidence.

Tutor: Phil Garratt

Fee £110, course code CA109

Dydd Mercher / Wednesday, 1.30-4.00pm, Oct 24, Nov 7, 21, Dec 5 19, Jan 9, 23, Feb 6

 Contact Phil Garratt on pjg@aber.ac.uk if you are interested in enrolling or would like further details about the content of the course.

 ( 01970 621580   : learning@aber.ac.uk     www.aber.ac.uk/sell

Addysg Uwch yn y Gymuned / Higher Education in the Community

Joseph Wolf – “The best all-round animal painter that ever lived.”

Joseph Wolf, Lance Chalkin, 1890, the Zoological Society of London (Source: Wikipedia)
Joseph Wolf, Lance Chalkin, 1890, the Zoological Society of London (Source: Wikipedia)

Joseph (Mathias) Wolf was born on the 22nd January 1820 in the little village of Mörz, near Koblenz, Germany. His father, Anton Wolf (1788-1859) was a farmer and headman of the village. As a boy, Wolf loved spending time outdoors, observing and sketching the local wildlife. Sometimes, he would shoot specimens to dissect them at home in order to achieve a better understanding of their anatomy, plumage or fur. He would also capture live birds and mammals to draw them. He built special traps to catch large birds of prey without harming them. His obsession, apparently, earned him the unflattering nickname ‘bird fool’ from his father. Watching wildlife became a lifelong passion and, although he killed some for study, he abhorred the mindless slaughter of animals that many Victorians regarded as a ‘manly’ pastime and sport. According to his biographer and friend Alfred Herbert Palmer (1853-1931), son of artist Samuel Palmer (1805-81), Wolf accused these ‘sportsmen’ of having “no desire to know about a thing. Their only desire is to kill it.” He also called man “the most destructive and carnivorous animal in the world.”

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‘To hell with nature!’ A Reappraisal of Charles Tunnicliffe Prints – at the School of Art Gallery, 12/02/-16/03/2018

TunnicliffePrintsPoster_small‘To hell with nature!’ – A Reappraisal of Charles Tunnicliffe Prints

Painter-printmaker Charles Tunnicliffe (1901–1979) grew up on a farm near Macclesfield in Cheshire. A scholarship enabled him to study at the Royal College of Art in London. Soon after his studies, Tunnicliffe gained a reputation as an etcher of farming subjects. Today, he is widely regarded as Britain’s foremost twentieth-century wildlife artist.

Towards the end of a career spanning six decades, Tunnicliffe was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. In an interview published in the Society’s magazine, Tunnicliffe stated:

‘I have shocked quite a lot of people by saying ‘To hell with nature!’ Nature is made to be used, not to be dictator, as far as the dyed-in-the-wool artist is concerned.’

Tunnicliffe’s exclamation expresses the frustration of an artist whose pictures are often judged on the strength of their fidelity to nature. Instead, Tunnicliffe’s prints show us nature transformed by culture and outdone by art. They demonstrate their maker’s knowledge of art history, his love of design, and the need to tell his own story.

Printmaking earned Tunnicliffe his Royal Academy of Arts membership in 1954. By then, he rarely produced fine art prints. For decades, Tunnicliffe’s work in various media appeared in magazines, on calendars and biscuit tins.

The stock market crash of 1929 had made it necessary for Tunnicliffe to rethink his career. Turning from etching to wood engraving, he became a prolific illustrator. His first project was Tarka the Otter.

Anglesey was no retreat for Tunnicliffe. Working on commission, he created colourful paintings he described as ‘decorations for modern rooms.’ He also continued to turn out mass-reproduced designs that promoted anything from pesticides to the Midland Bank.

Since the mid-1930s, Tunnicliffe’s work has been appreciated mainly second-hand. Until last year, when Robert Meyrick and I put together a catalogue raisonné of his etchings and wood engravings, Tunnicliffe never had a printmaking exhibition at the Royal Academy.

For some of his early prints, no contemporary impressions are known to exist. The plates were proofed by School of Art printmaker Andrew Baldwin.

Tunnicliffe’s career does not fit into the narrative of Modernism. It is a product of modernity. In his work, at least, he never said ‘to hell’ with culture. Pragmatic yet passionate, he made images to make a living.

Harry Heuser, exhibition curator

Curatorial team: Phil Garratt, Neil Holland, Robert Meyrick, Karen Westendorf

FOR ABER TWO – New exhibition at the School of Art Gallery: 09 August – 01 September 2017

AforAber2‘A’ For Aber Two

Aberystwyth Printmakers

7 August to 1 September 2017

This exhibition is a A follow up to last year’s A for Aber. This time the focus is on Visit Wales’ theme of the ‘Year of Legends’ 2017.

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