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Ernest Stephen Lumsden

1883 - 1948

The Saut Buckets (Edinburgh) by Ernest Stephen Lumsden

The Saut Buckets (Edinburgh)   1926

  Original drypoint.
Signed and numbered in ink.
Lumsden 302 viii/viii
S 384 x 275 mm; P & I  353 x 233 mm
Superb impression with rich drypoint burr, from the only edition of 60 signed and numbered proofs, printed by the artist himself. One of 42 proofs in the eighth state of the plate (the artist considered all impressions from the fifth state onwards to be part of the edition, 7 trial proofs were also printed).

E.S.Lumsden’s greatest printed work, The Saut Buckets depicts St. Ninian’s Row, near the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

Ernest Stephen Lumsden was a Scot by descent and adoption, though not by birth, and he made Edinburgh his home town, teaching at Edinburgh College of Art from 1908 until 1912. Long before he began his extensive travels to India and beyond, E.S.Lumsden had established himself as one of the rising stars of the Etching Revival through highly accomplished works of his local Scottish landscape. However, it was upon his return from his travels, with many years of etching experience behind him, that he created his masterwork, The Saut Buckets – one of the most powerful images ever made of the streets of Edinburgh.

This powerful work depicts the claustrophobic tenements of Edinburgh, with men loading salt containers (saut buckets) onto a horse-drawn cart in the foreground. A masterpiece of drypoint technique, every tiny part of this plate shows some beautifully observed detail. Just to the right of the cart, with only a few strokes of the drypoint needle, Lumsden has given the impression of two small girls, one bending to stroke a dog; at the left of the image, a man stands in a doorway, a cat nearby on the pavement. Every reflection, and every varied tone of the buildings’ façades is captured with extraordinary ingenuity. In all, The Saut Buckets is a truly exceptional drypoint work.

On pale cream laid paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very fine condition.