Original F.L.Griggs etching.
Presentation proof in the rare first state of the plate. Inscribed by F.L.M.Griggs “To Lily – June 1935 from Nina & Maur” numbered “2” (encircled) and signed “F.L.Griggs” in pencil, verso.
Fotheringhay is one of the rarest of Griggs’s published plates, having been printed in an edition of only 24 impressions in the published state (the second and final state). In this first state, only ten proofs were pulled, five of which are recorded by Comstock in permanent collections. This is a particularly beautiful early proof of the finest order.
Comstock notes “this magnificent choir-less collegiate church was built about 1430 by Edward IV. It stands beside the river Nene. The nearby castle, now demolished, was of course the scene of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, in 1587.” (p.211)
This state shows the image prior to completion of the arches and other stonework of the bridge, before the addition of three birds to the right of the church and before the initials and date were added at the lower righthand corner. All of these changes were made for the second state. Griggs himself remarked of this plate “as with other plates, some of the impressions, after numbering, may have been destroyed. All the impressions of both states are cut down to the plate-mark in order to save undue pressure in flattening… Much more rapid in manner and fact than most of the others as becomes a plate etched with a new nitric mordant on zinc. The plate, an old and corroded one, was done experimentally – in a week.” Despairing at the inordinate amount of time so many of his etchings had taken, Griggs planned Fotheringhay to be a rapid work and sought out a soft zinc plate, easier to work than copper, for the purpose. Four days after beginning work on this etching he remarked “the new-found freedom is refreshing” – the resulting immediacy makes this etching stand out from Griggs’s other printed works, some of which can seem laboured; consequently, it tends to appeal to a different style of collector rather than the Griggs purist.
On laid paper trimmed to the platemark as described by F.L.Griggs himself. Very fine condition, image surface excellent.