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Robert Sargent Austin

1895 – 1973

Two Girls on a Balcony by Robert Sargent Austin

Two Girls on a Balcony   1937/38

  Original line engraving.
Signed and dated in pencil.
Ref: Post Campbell Dodgson 118 iii/iii (Ashmolean Museum, 1980)
S 258 x 196 mm; P 179 x 125; I 139 x 116 mm
Original R.S. Austin line engraving.

Brilliant impression with crisp, sparkling line. From the only edition of about 40 signed proofs.

Two Girls on a Balcony is a meticulous and striking example of Robert Austin’s work in line engraving. As winner of the Rome Scholarship for engraving in 1922, R.S. Austin became one of the leading exponents of the reintroduction of original line engraving to England during the mid to late 1920’s. Trained under the expert guidance of Sir Frank Short his technique showed a perfection which had not been seen since the time of Durer.

It is clear that the artist has arranged his composition in order to highlight his prodigious technical ability – every fold of the girls’ garments, so carefully draped over the balcony rail, has been captured to perfection and is accentuated by contrast with the linear angularity of the wooden balcony itself.

The apparent sentimentality of this composition has been used to disguise the elements of deep religious conviction which pervade the majority of Robert Sargent Austin’s prints. Behind the two pensive girls, hangs a sprig of mistletoe bearing two palm crosses. This plate was engraved during December 1937 when the mistletoe would have been hung for Christmas.

On warm white wove paper with full margins. Very fine condition.