Monday, 21 October 2013

Dorothy Blackham (1896-1975)


These two hand coloured woodcut prints appeared whilst I was searching auction catalogues for stock. Although not quite "for me", I thought I would share them with my fellower print enthusiasts. The Catalogue description is - Dorothy Blackham (1896-1975) - Two Irish hand-coloured woodblock prints, 'Connemara Hillside', 12 x 20 cm and 'Sugarloaf from the Scalp Wood', 17 x 16.5 cm, both pencil signed and titled to margins. On sale at Andrew Smith & Son - Fine Art, Antiques and Interiors - Lot 72 est £100-150.


The technique looks basic - black line key block with handpainted colours. Auctioneers' listed these as woodblock print, but look more likely to be linocuts. Just as labour intensive as multiple blocks but easier to create, no need to worry over the register of each colour.

Dorothy Isabel Blackham was born in Dublin and trained at the Royal Hibernian Academy, The Metropolitan School of Art, and Goldsmith's College, London, from 1921 to 1922. After completing her training she taught art as well as exhibiting her art. She was awarded medals at the Tailteann Festivals of 1928 and 1932. 

a woodcut type illustration to accompany a poem by WH Letts.

From 1939 until 1945 she worked in Gibraltar among refugees before returning to Ireland when she married. She moved to Donaghadee, County Down, where she continued to paint under her maiden name, in oils, water-colours and tempera. She worked as a commercial artist, designing posters, Christmas cards and producing drawings for The Bell and other magazines.  Her subjects are usually, the Irish landscape, views of mountains with stone cottages and rural life.



She exhibited widely at the Royal Academy, the Ulster Women Artists' Group, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Ulster Academy, the Watercolour Society of Ireland, and the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland. Examples of her work are in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin.

Her works regularly come up for sale at auction with prices ranging from $236 for a print up to $2785 for an oil painting titled "Rua-Achill-Sound". I do not know what the Irish art market is currently like, probably not as hot as a few years ago, never the less, I am sure these two prints will sell and probably for more that the estimate.


Here is an example of her signature - one of those that is easy to read if you know what it's meant to spell !

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pierre Poisson (1876-1953) - Medals

Pierre-Marie Poisson (1876-1953)
Artist - Sculptor - Medallist


Pierre-Marie Possion is another French artist who created some spectacular medals during the 1930's. His name cropped up whilst researching Albert Pommier and as the name was vaguely familiar I search my own archive of medals to find the "Le Harve" design at the top. The quality of this motivated me to explore the internet to find more medals and biographical detail.



The little I can find about Pierre is limited to his artist training and career, although he appears to have names variously listed as and including; "Auguste" "Marie" "Pierre" Poisson. So perhaps his early live is listed under a different variation. 

What I could established was that he studied sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse before, like Albert Pommier, travelling to Algiers to study at the Villa Abn-el-Tif. Whilst there he was awarded the prestigous; Prix Abd-el-Tif in 1907: Pommier went on to win it in 1914.

He exhibited both in France and internationally including showing a bronze sculpure titled "Eve" at the Salon des Tuileries in 1949 (shown right) - His style of classicism with a hint of art deco, might have seemed a little passé by the late 1940's, however technically excellent. Also he exhibited in the UK showing 2 works at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Perhaps his greatest monument were the large sculptures in the round he created for the 1937 Paris, L'Exposition Universelle and which are now to be found near the Eiffel Tower.


His medals are usually signed PM.Poisson, which confirms that his "artistic" name as Pierre-Marie Poisson


other designs include;







Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Around the House - more Hall Thorpe

.... following last weeks review of auction lots. Here are a few more, including 2 more woodcuts by John Hall Thorpe.


Lot 1459 - "Bunch of Buttercup"
although they look to me to be cowslips or primrose ?
McTear's - The British and International Pictures Auction
Estimate - £100-200


John Hall Thorpe RBA, Australian/British 1874-1947- "The Open Gate"; 
woodblock print in colours, signed and titled in pencil, 37x28cm


Arthur Ridgen Read, British (1879-1955) - "The Sweep"; 
woodcut, signed, titled, numbered 7/50 and dated 1924
also at Rosebery's - Lot 385 est £150-200


John Buckland-Wright (1897-1954)
 "Bord du Lac" dated 1931 and numbered 27/30 in pencil, 
also at Rosebery's


Allen Williams Seaby 1867-1953 - Cockerel
Lot 251 est £50-80


Elizabeth Keith (1887-1956).
Street Scene, Soochow, 1924
Dominic Winter Auctions Two Day Sale  Lot 139 Est £300-500

.... and suddenly there are Hall Thorpe woodcuts all over the place, another 2 this week. The cowslips look good, perhaps some fading to the pink/mauve (or blue?). However the "Open Gate" has considerable discolouration. "Untouched" just like some dealers and collectors prefer.

My favourite is the Rigden Read, 2 years ago I would not have shared this one with you and gone all out to buy it for stock. Not now though - it's still the best of this selection and needs to find a good home. The Seaby seems to have a very fair estimate and will sell well. Not one I have seen and I like this format where he presents a close up partial view of the subject. Far better than the small grouse over large landscape.

Again -- good luck if bidding and remember to ask for a detailed condition report from the auctioneers.