Featuring rare, exclusive etchings by Bernard Leach and a definitive series of prints representing the culmination of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham's abundant creative life.
In the 1980s Janet Leach discovered a group of etching plates in the attic of the Leach Pottery. Test images were made and a new edition commissioned. As many of the plates are damaged or deteriorating, these are likely to become highly collectable images.
The etchings represent an as yet little-scrutinized niche in Leach's oeuvre. Simon Olding is shortly to publish a new book which will help reveal the importance of these early experiments in Leach's development. During his time at the London School of Art in 1908, Leach made etchings of urban scenes and figures, as well as drawings and paintings. He took an etching press to Japan in 1909, where he produced energetic, engaging studies of rural life, as well as figure studies and portraits. On his return to England, he used the technique less and less and the press was out of use by the mid 1920s. Nevertheless, it seems etching had a great impact on his development as an artist.
Whereas Leach engaged with printmaking techniques at the beginning of his career, astonishingly, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was in her 80s when she began a period of prolific printmaking. From 1998 - 2003, using water-based screen printing inks, she was able to encapsulate the individual essence of each mark; her painting style came to life through a new medium. The White Circle, Wind Dance and Water Dance (Porthmeor) Series' of 2003 poignantly express the ultimate flowering of a mature creative language.
The exhibition also features key prints by Bryan Pearce, Anthony Frost, Breon O'Casey, David Pearce, a rare edition of Terry Frost Etchings from his SS series, and a collection of Neil Canning's most recent silksreen prints.