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Frederick Carter

1883 - 1967

Waterloo Bridge Steps by Frederick Carter

Waterloo Bridge Steps   1913

  Original etching.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Clark 58
S 280 x 176 mm; P & I 251 x 152 mm
Original Fredrick Carter etching.

Very good signed proof impression, printed with tone. Rare.

Frederick Carter’s powerful etchings of London at night rank amongst his greatest printed works. These images contain an underlying sentiment which completely transcends their topographical content. Their strange viewpoints and dramatic lighting convey an eerie mood not found in the work of any other British printmaker.

The artist has imbued this scene with the haunting sense of mystery which pervades all of his magnificent night scenes of London. Here, it is Frederick Carter’s unusual view of a well-known place which is significant. The splendour of Somerset House is largely ignored, falling into the background, and the imposing structure of Old Waterloo Bridge is passed by. Instead, the viewer’s eye is forced to roam the dimly lit foreground scene, only to be led towards an isolated stairwell, curious at what may lie beyond the first enticing steps.

Frederick Carter wrote of one such scene: “there are certain places in London which seem consecrated to the profoundest and most dramatic significance by the constant sacrificial outpouring of sorrow, by the tears and misery of passing multitudes...”. There can be no doubt that this deserted stairwell on the Embankment was a place of profound significance to this artist for reasons of a very similar nature as it is inextricably linked to the first of Carter’s etchings of the forlorn Wandering Jew, depicted in the same year, only yards away, under an arch of Waterloo Bridge.

This etching is a superb example of Frederick Carter’s massively underrated genius. It is evident that Carter’s outstanding ability as a printmaker has not received the appreciation it deserves only due to the extreme rarity of his prints.

On off-white laid paper with margins. Three expertly repaired tears in righthand margin, one just entering image at bottom corner, otherwise good condition.