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Stephen F. Gooden

1892 – 1955

Boy and Snail by Stephen F. Gooden

Boy and Snail   1932

  Original line engraving.
Ref: Campbell Dodgson 13
S 267 x 203 mm; P & I 52 x 113 mm
Original Stephen Gooden line engraving.

Exceptional proof impression of this iconic work, printed on large paper. Designed as an independent plate, Boy and Snail is often regarded as Stephen Gooden’s ‘signature’ work – it is neither the largest, nor the most elaborate of his engravings but, to many collectors, it is his definitive piece of fine line engraving.

Campbell Dodgson, the leading authority on the work of Stephen Gooden considered this engraving to represent the definition of the process of exquisite line engraving, describing it in his Iconography: “A boy pushes a burin along a polished copper plate, on the surface of which his feet and the point of the burin are reflected. A shaving of copper, cut by the tool, twists in the air. A snail, crawling ahead of him, as an emblem of the slow process of line engraving, is harnessed to the burin.” (An Iconography of Stephen Gooden, Elkin Mathews Ltd., London, 1944, p.13). For him, as for the Stephen Gooden, this was the very essence of the meticulous art of fine line engraving.

Stephen Gooden was the most accomplished line engraver of his time. He illustrated a number of books, among them The Nonesuch Press Bible, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The Fables of La Jean de la Fontaine, George Moore's The Brook Kerith, and Aesop's Fables. In addition, Stephen Gooden was the foremost engraver of pictorial bookplates in England during his lifetime, producing over forty notable bookplates, including a number for The Royal Family, and was the official designer to the Bank of England.

On an unusually large sheet of cream laid paper with full margins. Very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.