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Ethel Kirkpatrick

1869 – 1966

Rooks Nesting by Ethel Kirkpatrick

Rooks Nesting   c.1904

  Original woodcut, printed in colours.
Signed in pencil.
S 126 x 348 mm; I 97 x 317 mm
Original Ethel Kirkpatrick woodcut, printed in colours.

Very good signed proof impression printed in orange, purple, brown and black inks. Ethel Kirkpatrick has inked and wiped the blocks with great care to prevent overlap and yet she has managed to diffuse the orange ink to suggest the light of the sun, low over the horizon. A very beautiful example of this charming and unusual colour woodcut.

It has proved very difficult to date Ethel Kirkpatrick’s woodcuts with any level of accuracy; however, we have had a colour woodcut of two figures standing under trees which was signed, titled and dated in Ethel Kirkpatrick’s hand “On the top of Harrow Hill” “Oct.1903” along with another work which was titled and inscribed in her hand “Venice – on the lagoon” “(Oct. 1903)”. Ethel Kirkpatrick and her sister Ida (also an artist) had added a studio on to the family home at Harrow-on-the-Hill after their father’s death in 1895/6 and they continued to live there for many years, though they travelled widely and spent some considerable time in St.Ives, Cornwall. After studying at West London and Kensington School of Art and Académie Julian in Paris, Ethel attended London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts between 1897 and 1899, where she studied enamelling and woodcut techniques. All of this suggests that much of Ethel Kirkpatrick’s colour woodcut work comes from the period around 1900-1905, somewhat earlier than often proposed. This would also explain why Ethel Kirkpatrick appears to have been considered so influential by many of the colour woodcut artists working in England in the teens and twenties as her work pre-dates theirs considerably.

It has been suggested that this colour woodcut of Rooks Nesting was drawn and cut at her home, The Gables, Grove Hill, Harrow-on-the-Hill. This is seems quite likely as the upper windows of the house, which still stands, overlook the tree tops towards a view which (in those days) would have been quite similar to the distant view in this woodcut.

On soft laid paper with full margins. One tiny natural hole in paper weave, as printed. Mild foxing. One tape mark verso, otherwise very good original condition.