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Robert Sargent Austin

1895 – 1973

Young Mother by Robert Sargent Austin

Young Mother   1936

  Original line engraving.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Post Campbell Dodgson 112 xiii/xiii (Ashmolean Museum catalogue, 1980)
S 210 x 174 mm; P 131 x 100 mm; I 107 x 88 mm
Original Robert Sargent Austin engraving.

A especially fine signed proof impression in the completed state of the plate. Proofs such as this, which the artist chose to sign, are of far higher quality than the unsigned working proofs which were left behind upon the artist's death - the unsigned lesser proofs often carry a studio stamp.

Young Mother is one of the most famous and undoubtedly one of the most sought after of all of Robert Sargent Austin’s ingenious and highly finished line engravings. Despite the enormous popularity of this delightful subject, the artist printed only a very few impressions of each state of the plate. The total number of proofs pulled is thought to be between 26 and 36 in all 13 states.

Young Mother is a meticulous and striking example of Robert Austin’s work in line engraving. As winner of the Rome Scholarship for engraving in 1922, R.S.Austin became one of the leading exponents of the reintroduction of original line engraving to England during the mid to late 1920’s. Trained under the expert guidance of Sir Frank Short his technique showed a perfection which had not been seen since the time of Durer.

An impression of this engraving was shown at the Royal Academy in 1937 and again in 1940. The subject proved so popular that the Twenty One Gallery, who had been responsible for publishing the majority of Robert Austin’s plates throughout his career, commissioned a major watercolour after this engraving in 1942. It is undoubtedly one of the finest and most touching of all British line engravings produced during the Etching Revival.

On pale cream wove pape with full margins. Faint suggestion of time tone within mat window area, otherwise very fine original condition.