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Vernon Hill

1887 - 1953

A Sleeper by Vernon Hill
 

A Sleeper   c.1929

  Original etching, printed in colours.
S 235 x 150 mm; P 149 x 49 mm; I 142 x 45 mm
£345
 
Original Vernon Hill etching, printed in colours.

Unique colour trial proof impression, printed in red and black inks, with a veil of white ‘wash’ applied over most of the image. The strange white 'wash' veil is an intentionally applied white layer which must have been some sort of experiment by Vernon Hill, the purpose of which is unknown. This white layer could be removed by a trained conservator if one wanted full clarity of the underlying etching.

No published edition of this rare etching in colour is recorded.

There is a strange timeless beauty to this enchanting scene. The artist has emphasised the solitude and dream-like quality of his Sleeper's repose by the usual star-lit, vertical setting. Here, he has employed a technique not unlike that used by Samuel Palmer, in which the artist creates a dense web of etched lines through which the white of the paper is allowed to shine in a thousand tiny dots, the density of this web and the resulting dots creating an infinite tonal range. The difference with Vernon Hill's work is that the web he creates is entirely linear in nature, emphasising the cool verticality of the composition.

In stark contrast to this linear background, the Sleeper lies motionless, a series of graceful, open curves, at once thrust into the moonlit foreground. Her clothes and hair are given shape by long flowing etched lines, indicating contours. The shoots of the nearby tree rise, as though symbolic of the Sleeper's dreams, protecting her from the cold world beyond.

On textured cream laid paper, with armorial crest watermark of a rampant crowned lion, with full margins and deckle edges. Very slight time tone, otherwise good original condition.