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William Walcot

1874 – 1943

Piccadilly Circus, London (Eros being re-erected) by William Walcot

Piccadilly Circus, London (Eros being re-erected)   1931

  Original etching with drypoint.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Harvey-Lee 165
S 210 x 233 mm; P & I 107 x 138 mm
Original William Walcot etching with drypoint.

The rare early version of this subject.

Signed artist's proof impression of William Walcot's first plate depicting the re-erection of the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus in 1931. A superb artist's proof impression printed on blue-toned paper. This first version of the subject is a rapid and vivacious study composed of delicate etched and drypoint lines, measuring 107 x 138 mm (approx. 4 1/4 x 5 7/8 in.). Walcot later repeated this composition in a less spontaneous form of slightly different format, measuring 5 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches, and entitled Eros re-erected in Piccadilly after its temporary removal (Harvey-Lee 166).

Piccadilly Circus was William Walcot's favourite London subject, featuring in no less than ten of his etched works between 1913 and 1933. Over these two decades Walcot chronicled the changing face of this famous London location, with the eye of a trained architect and the artistry of a truly inspired printmaker.

The statue of Eros on Piccadilly Circus is officially part of the Shaftesbury memorial. Although known as Eros, the statue actually represents the Angel of Christian Charity. It was erected in 1893 to commemorate the philanthropic work of the Earl of Shaftesbury. The statue was removed in 1922 for the reconstruction of the Piccadilly Circus Underground station and was temporarily set up in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. It was then sent to the workshop of A.B.Burton, Bronze Statuary Founder, in Thames Ditton, Surrey, for cleaning before being returned to Piccadilly Circus in 1931. William Walcot's beautifully spontaneous image shows the statue of Eros newly re-positioned on its stone plinth but still surrounded by a cloak of scaffolding.

On blue-toned wove paper with full margins and deckle edge. Generally very fine original condition.