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Walter Richard Sickert

1860 – 1942

The Old Middlesex (Small plate) by Walter Richard Sickert

The Old Middlesex (Small plate)   1914

  Original etching.
With the artist’s name in the plate.
Bromberg 158 iv/iv; Troyen 92 ii/ii
S 250 x 195 mm; P 117 x 135 mm; I 95 x 124 mm
This image shows the orchestra pit and stalls at the Middlesex Music Hall, in Drury Lane (often known as the Mogul Tavern), seen from either the balcony or the circle. A programme lies trapped beneath an ash-tray and match stand at the right foreground of the image. Walter Sickert produced a painting and numerous drawings of this subject around the years 1906-7 and made a large experimental etching of the subject (unpublished) between 1910-14. This etching reverses the original composition and shows the image fully resolved with the addition of a professionally engraved title.

At the time of this particular work, Walter R.Sickert was experimenting with a number of new graphic techniques. In his etchings W.R.Sickert aimed to transform the tonal contrasts of the paintings and drawings of his music hall scenes into abstract patterns of light and shade. In this particular plate the principal tonal difference has been achieved through two bitings: after preliminary light biting of the entire plate, the crowd and orchestra pit would have been stopped-out to allow further biting of the balcony and its rail. This will have provided the strong tonal contrast and the impression of considerable recession, to be seen in this particular impression. Unlike most Carfax impressions, many of which were poorly printed, this particular impression is an unusually fine example with impressive tonal range.

On cream laid paper with full margins and deckle edge. Remains of previous mounting tissue at extreme outer edges of sheet, otherwise generally very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.