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Percival Gaskell

1868 - 1934

The Noiseless Music of the Night by Percival Gaskell

The Noiseless Music of the Night   c.1920

  Original aquatint.
Signed in pencil.
S 282 x 381 mm; P 175 x 222 mm; I 155 x 209 mm
Original Percival Gaskell aquatint.

Superb impression of Percival Gaskell’s most sought after printed work.

The Noiseless Music of the Night is, without doubt, Percival Gaskell’s Symbolist masterpiece. The most haunting of all of the artist’s aquatint nocturnes, this composition derives its essential elements directly from Arnold Böcklin’s famous painting Isle of the Dead. It is a remarkable example of enigmatic Symbolism rarely found in British art of the period. Here, Gaskell has created a truly poetic landscape – he has idealised nature without deforming it, to create a mystical image concentrating upon mood rather than detail. Eloquent and mysterious, this magical composition captures perfectly the eerie silence which pervades the scene as the ghost-like figure gazes into the darkness of the moonlit waters.

The magnificent printed works of the Yorkshire artist, Percival Gaskell have only been fully re-discovered in recent years. Percival Gaskell rose to prominence whilst working together with Sir Frank Short in the engraving school at the Royal College of Art in London during the first two decades of the twentieth-century. These two brilliant exponents of printmaking techniques were to exert a profound influence upon the development of an entire generation of British printmakers and are now ranked as the most widely talented protagonists of original printmaking of their period.

A true painter-printmaker, Percival Gaskell developed a sensitivity to atmospheric tone which is displayed in an air of timeless beauty in this superb aquatint. Only in recent times has the true significance of this outstanding printmaker’s remarkable body of work been realised. Amongst these works, The Noiseless Music of the Night stands out as a particular masterpiece.

On pale cream China paper applied to original warm white wove backing sheet, with full margins, as issued. One faint foxing spot just inside lower platemark, otherwise very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.