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William E.C. Morgan

1903 - 1979

The Water Carriers by William E.C. Morgan

The Water Carriers   1928

  Original line engraving.
Signed, titled, numbered and dated in pencil.
S 321 x 205 mm; P & I 214 x 101 mm
Outstanding impression from the only edition of 60 signed and numbered proofs.

After gaining the Prix de Rome for engraving in 1924 W.E.C. Morgan spent just over three years in Italy and it was there that he perfected his skills for line engraving on copper. Morgan went on to produce some of the finest and most elaborate line engravings of the period – The Water Carriers, produced at the end of his Italian sojourn, can be considered the culmination of his quest for perfection in this medium. This exceptional work displays an extraordinary variety of line through which the artist has created a lyrical composition with refined classical elegance and a true sense of natural movement.

W.E.C. Morgan was one of the principal protagonists of the re-introduction of original line engraving to England during the 1920’s. Indeed, his spectacular achievements in line engraving led Morgan to be proclaimed a worthy disciple of Dürer by Malcolm Salaman (the leading critic of the day) when reviewing both this engraving and Morgan’s masterpiece, Perseus, in 1929.

William E.C. Morgan did not comply with contemporary developments in the art of line engraving and harboured a healthy dislike of what he considered to be the scratchy freedom of modern etching style. Instead, he preferred to nurture the old skills of fine line engraving, turning to the more serious outlook and the perfection of technique found during the Renaissance, his principal source of inspiration being the work of Albrecht Dürer.

A particularly striking proof impression with strong contrast and exceptional clarity of line, on cream laid paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.