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Arthur Briscoe

1873 – 1943

The Trawler by Arthur Briscoe

The Trawler   1926

  Original etching.
Signed and inscribed in pencil.
Ref: Laver 90 Trial proof; Hurst 176 Trial proof.
S 296 x 403 mm; P & I 250 x 353 mm
Original Arthur Briscoe etching.

The final trial proof impression, prior to the published edition – signed and inscribed by the artist “Last Trial – A.B. Appro--- Paper”.

One of only 5 unnumbered trial proof impressions
prior to the published edition of 75 signed and numbered prints (there were a further 6 impressions in the published state for the artist’s use). The plate is known to have been destroyed not long after the printing of this edition.

Acknowledged as the finest marine etchings of the 20th century, Arthur Briscoe’s bold etched works display both the artist’s intimate knowledge of the sea and his innate mastery of the etching needle. In particular, Briscoe had the ability to convey the motion of the sea itself and the varied effects of light and shade with extraordinary economy of line, as demonstrated superbly by this outstanding etching.

This particular proof of The Trawler represents the culmination of months of work. The trawler depicted in this image is the Guess Again of Brixham, Briscoe’s favourite sailing ship, and the one in which he made the vast majority of his sketches at sea from 1925 onwards. Arthur Briscoe made “innumerable sketches varying from upright pictures showing the whole vessel, but gradually being reduced in the height of the craft until, from a low aspect, (this plate) was produced”. After taking the plate through four trial states (not recorded by Hurst), the artist finally achieved his goal in this, his final trial proof. Here, he felt that he had captured the true nature of the vessel which he so loved. Arthur Briscoe clearly considered this to be one of his most important plates, pricing it at his highest ever issue price – certainly it proved to be one of his most popular etchings.

Hurst eulogises over the plate “It is a splendid view of the trawler … and gives a wonderful idea of her sail power. … She is going well, accompanied by the following of gulls which were almost a part of these vessels!” (Arthur Briscoe – Marine Artist, 1974, p.154).

On cream wove paper, with full margins and deckle edge. Excellent condition.