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Sir William Russell Flint

1880 – 1969

Slippery Steps by William Russell Flint

Slippery Steps   1929

  Original drypoint.
Signed and inscribed in ink. Further inscribed in pencil.
Ref: Wright 20 v/v
S 274 x 208 mm; P & I 215 x 176 mm
Original William Russell Flint drypoint.

The unique ‘A’ proof printed in the completed state of the plate. Superb impression with rich drypoint burr, inscribed in pencil “The only proof thus”.

Russell Flint’s most famous original drypoint.

Slippery Steps has long been considered the iconic work amongst William Russell Flint’s impressive body of original handmade prints. This superb balletic composition captures the very essence of W.R. Flint’s figurative work at its finest, whilst showing off his skills at a draughtsman using the drypoint technique at their very best. After making many preparatory pencil sketches, Flint took the drypoint plate itself through five states of development, publishing the main edition in the fourth state; however, he felt that the composition could still be further improved and went on to perfect the image in the fifth state of the plate with alterations to the background figures and additional reflections in the righthand foreground. A few trial impressions were taken to test the printing pressure and ink to be used (these test prints were discarded) and then only one proof was printed – this was the outstanding ‘A’ proof impression shown here, which Russell Flint kept for himself as the ultimate example of his completed work.

This unique proof was subsequently acquired by Arthur Mitchell, whose collection of Russell Flint drypoints is generally regarded as the finest ever assembled. This proof was sold as lot 40 in the Arthur Mitchell sale at Sotheby’s in 1973.

On cream wove paper with full margins. Some traces of previous paper hinges at extreme outer edges of sheet, otherwise very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.