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Leon Underwood

1890 - 1975

Self-portrait as St. Sebastian by Leon Underwood

Self-portrait as St. Sebastian   1921

  Original etching.
Signed, titled, numbered and dated in pencil.
Ref: Neve p.56
S 168 x 163 mm; P & I 116 x 80 mm
Extremely rare self-portrait as St. Sebastian. A very fine example, inscribed “No.10/25” by the artist in pencil and which comes by descent from his family - only three impressions of this etching can be located today.

It was this etching, along with Underwood’s early plate of The Three Graces which first attracted Campbell Dodgson to Underwood’s work as an etcher. In this outstanding work the artist has modeled the face of St. Sebastian upon his own self-portrait, with exceptional skill. Indeed, the plate displays the same carefully graded use of stipple work to model the features and create shading as is found in Underwood’s famous Self-portrait in a Landscape, of the same year (although often incorrectly ascribed to the year 1918).

St. Sebastian is one of the finest of Underwood’s early etched portraits. Etched directly on to the plate, in characteristically decisive manner, this unusual self-portrait is typical of the remarkable ability which this gifted artist displayed, from the outset, in every process to which he turned his hand.

Very fine signed proof impression with crisp, clear line. On pale cream wove paper with full margins and deckle edge. Evidence of previous mounting at upper corners verso, otherwise very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.