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Francis Dodd

1874 - 1949

Admiral Bruce by Francis Dodd

Admiral Bruce   1919

  Original drypoint.
Signed and inscribed in pencil.
Ref: Schwabe 151
S 405 x 284 mm; P& I 221 x 172 mm
£280 - SOLD
Original Francis Dodd drypoint.

Unique, Francis Dodd’s own proof impression from his own personal collection. Excellent impression with fresh drypoint burr. Signed and inscribed in pencil in Dodd’s hand “2nd state Imp I”, further initialled “F.D.” and “P” to indicate that this particular proof was to be retained for the artist’s own personal collection.

One of the rarest of Francis Dodd’s drypoint portraits, Schwabe records that only 5 impressions were printed from this plate in total – this is echoed by the pencil inscription in Dodd’s hand written on one of the two proofs owned by Campbell Fine Art which reads “About 5 impressions of this in different states, not certain about it but I think not more”.

Francis Dodd was the most highly regarded portrait artist out of all of the original printmakers of the period, followed closely by G.L. Brockhurst. From around 1908 until 1920, portraiture was to make up over one third of Francis Dodd’s output as a printmaker and much of this portrait work was done as commercial commissions providing Dodd with a steady source of income. During the First World War he acted as Official Artist to the Ministry of Information, executing over 150 portrait drawings of admirals and generals – reproductions of these drawings were widely circulated for propaganda purposes, particularly in the U.S.A.. Later in the war he was transferred to the Admiralty and it was during this period that Dodd made his preliminary drawing of Admiral Henry Harvey Bruce in 1917 (not 1915 as stated on some websites). It was Dodd’s practice with a drypoint portrait “to establish it in preliminary drawings, to trace it on the copper, and then to work from life again with the needle or diamond” (The Print Collector’s Quarterly, 1926, Vol.13, no.3, p.260). Only occasionally did Dodd draw a drypoint portrait directly on to the plate from life without a preparatory drawing. Dodd used his earlier drawing as the basis for this drypoint, depicting Admiral Bruce holding a plan of Rosyth where was commodore of the dockyard from 1915 until 1920.

On simile Japan paper, with full margins and deckle edge. Very fine original condition.