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Augustus Edwin John

1879 – 1961

Lady with a Necklace by Augustus Edwin John

Lady with a Necklace   1902

  Original etching, signed in pencil.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Campbell Dodgson 40 ii/ii
S 322 x 292 mm; P & I 213 x 168 mm
Outstanding proof impression of the artist’s most elaborate portrait of his first wife, Ida. A particularly beautiful proof printed with considerable plate tone, from the only published edition of 25 signed proofs, as issued through the Chenil Gallery in 1906.

This outstanding portrait etching by Augustus John of his first wife Ida was made not long after their marriage, while the couple were living in Liverpool in 1902. By far the most audacious undertaking yet attempted in etching by the artist, Lady with a Necklace remains both the largest and most complex portrait etching ever produced by Augustus John. Only the famous self portrait Tête Farouche was executed on the same scale and, in view of the extraordinary similarity of their handling, it is likely that the artist visualised these two portraits as a pair.

No other etched portrait by Augustus John was drawn with quite the same degree of tender and sensitive understanding of his subject as Lady with a Necklace. His deep love for his wife, Ida, is reflected in every nuance of this work. The skill of the young John’s draughtsmanship is never more apparent than in his handling of this etching and, as a printmaker, he has enhanced his design still further through judicious biting of the plate and selective wiping of plate tone. The result is one of the great examples of British portrait etching.

Signed by the artist with his early signature “A.E. John”. As with all of John’s early plates, this etching was not published in a formal edition until issued by Knewstub through his Chenil Gallery in 1906, when this proof was printed. The plate was cancelled immediately after this edition had been printed.

On cream laid paper, watermarked F J Head & Co, with wide margins. Very fine condition. Image surface excellent.