Original Fredrick Carter wood engraving.
The original engraved woodblock
of this carefully crafted wood engraving. Unique.
This item is sold together with a rare signed proof impression of this wood engraving. Both items come from the artist’s own personal collection.
The intricate wood engravings of Frederick Carter have always been considered to be the artist’s greatest works. Their inspired designs brought him three successive gold medals the book illustration in the National Competition, South Kensington - the most prestigious award of his day. The Little Hill
is an especially fine example of this brilliant artist’s mature work in wood engraving.
Proof impressions from Frederick Carter’s blocks are extremely rare and the few proofs taken during Carter’s lifetime appear to have been solely for private use or for distribution amongst the artist’s personal friends. Although some of these ingenious designs were used as book illustrations, the books in which they were issued were of very limited circulation. This particular block was designed for the very rare folio entitled Frederick Carter, Eighteen Drawings
(Twyn Barn Press, London, 1937) a publication which was limited to 20 copies only.
Frederick Carter would begin an engraving of this sort by drawing his original design in ink directly on to the wood block and then either he, or his assistant W.M.R.Quick, would carve away the surrounding wood, leaving only the lines of the original drawing standing proud to form the printing surface. Thus, the block becomes a permanent record of the drawing which is itself destroyed. When inked, the recessed areas of the block do not print and only the raised lines, which represent the original drawing, transfer the design to the blank paper, thus creating the printed image.
The block is made from four sections, bound together with wooden joints and clamped with an ingenious system of internal brass bolts. It is in extremely good condition and could be printed from at present.
This item is sold together with a rare signed proof impression printed from this block (an excellent proof, prior to publication in Eighteen Drawings). The accompanying proof is printed on fine simile Japan paper, with full margins, and is in excellent original condition. Both block and proof come from the artist’s personal collection.
The origins of this image are obscure, although the hill crowned with trees may be derived from places of Druidic worship such as Chanctonbury Ring - such sites of pagan worship would have appealed to Carter who, in view of his own beliefs in mysticism, would have placed great importance in the power of these ancient places of ritual.