back to works by this artist go to previous work   go to next work

Malcolm Osborne

1880 - 1963

Douglas Cockerell by Malcolm Osborne

Douglas Cockerell   c.1944

  Original drypoint.
Signed and inscribed in pencil.
Ref: Post Salaman.
S 401 x 252 mm; P & I 302 x 190 mm
Original Malcolm Osborne drypoint.

Outstanding signed proof impression. Malcolm Osborne's master proof impression, inscribed by the artist in pencil "Malcolm Osborne. Royal College of Art, Ambleside. Framed:- £4-4-0. Proofs:- £3-3-0.”

A notably good proof impression, the fresh drypoint burr printing with rich, velvety intensity.

Malcolm Osborne made two different drypoint portraits of Douglas Cockerell in the sitter's bookbinding workshop at Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The published plate shows Douglas Cockerell surrounded by the tools of his trade. This, by far the more scarce version of the two, is drawn from a different angle and concentrates on the sitter alone. Drypoint was Malcolm Osborne's favourite medium as it allowed him to work freely on the copper with his subject before him, enabling him to capture the character of his sitter with absolute immediacy.

This plate was printed by Malcolm Osborne whilst he was based at the Royal College of Art in its makeshift wartime premises in the Lake District. Following the Battle of Britain, the Royal College of Art was evacuated from South Kensington in the Autumn of 1940 to Ambleside, taking over two of the local hotels, the Queens and the Salutation, for studios and accommodation. The college remained in Ambleside until the end of the war in 1945.

Douglas Bennett Cockerell (1870-1945) was one of the most distinguished of English bookbinders. He was responsible for binding and conserving some of the world's most precious books. Through his brother, Sydney Cockerell, and William Morris, he was apprenticed in 1893 to the newly opened Doves Bindery. In 1897 he started on his highly influential teaching career at the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts, where George Sutcliffe and Francis Sangorski were among his first students. In the same year he started his own bindery in Denmark Street, moving in 1899 to Gilbert Street, and in 1902 to Ewell. In 1901 Cockerell published "Bookbinding and the Care of Books", which inspired and instructed generations of binders. From 1904 to 1914 he was "controller" of the W. H. Smith & Son bindery and in 1907 he moved his own bindery to new model premises in Letchworth Garden City. After the First World War he was appointed adviser on printing to the Imperial War Graves Commission, and oversaw the massive task of printing and binding the registers of the dead which can be found in each cemetery. In 1924 he was joined by his son Sandy and the two of them (and various notable assistants) became increasingly involved in conservation work. Douglas died in 1945 and is one of the few binders to have his own entry in the new "Dictionary of National Biography"

On pale cream laid paper with full margins. Very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.