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Robert Sargent Austin

1895 – 1973

Portrait (Noel Edwards) by Robert Sargent Austin

Portrait (Noel Edwards)   1935-6

  Original line engraving.
Signed and dated in pencil.
Ref: Post Campbell Dodgson 110 (Ashmolean Museum catalogue, 1980)
S 321 x 253 mm; P& I 228 x 189 mm
Original Robert Sargent Austin engraving.

Exceptionally fine signed proof impression printed from the freshly completed plate in April 1936.

Robert Sargent Austin’s portrait masterpiece and a brilliant display of line engraving technique, Portrait (Noel Edwards) is considered by many to be the artist’s finest plate, standing as a tour de force in the medium.

Robert Sargent Austin was one of the leading exponents of the re-introduction of original line engraving to England during the 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 Dürer.

The subject of this unusual portrait, Noel Edwards, was the wife of the Dean of Canterbury. She was also a former pupil of Austin's in the engraving School at the Royal College of Art in London. The unusual composition of this portrait and the remarkable attention to detail which Robert Sargent Austin has lavished on every aspect of his sitter’s clothing with its many varied textures, have combined to create a masterwork of line engraving which stands alone in its fascination.

This plate was engraved by Robert Sargent Austin in 1935 and impressions in each progressive state were printed between late 1935 and the Spring of 1936. This proof was printed just after the plate had been completed in April 1936 and is signed and dated to that effect. The plate is known to have been cancelled.

On pale cream wove paper with full margins. Mild time tone to sheet, otherwise very fine original condition.