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Vernon Hill

1887 - 1953

Sweeping Flame by Vernon Hill

Sweeping Flame   1929

  Original etching.
Signed and titled in pencil.
S 377 x 215 mm; P & I 336 x 163 mm
Original Vernon Hill etching.

Superb proof impression of this highly evocative etching. Numbered from the only projected edition of 30 signed proofs – it is thought unlikely that this edition was ever printed in full. Rare.

The brilliant etched work of Vernon Hill is outstanding in its expressive depiction of the human form. Sweeping Flame possesses the elemental nature of the work of William Blake, at once graceful, expressive and yet striking in its power. In this marvellous symbolic image the naked figure rises spirit-like as he becomes engulfed by the all consuming flames – the artist has portrayed agony, anguish and despair at the destructive force of fire.

Vernon Hill’s etched works date from between about 1910 and the early 1930’s. They display an extraordinary and highly individual technique through which contours are defined by deeply bitten, long, unbroken etched lines. Brightly lit areas are left entirely unshaded and unmodelled, the white of the paper on which the etching is printed creating the natural highlights of the work.

Vernon Hill produced at least one other etching of this style of subject. Although very similar in design, portraying a naked figure being consumed by fire, it is worked on a much smaller scale. An impression of this much smaller work was acquired by the British Museum in 1915 and is now in the Department of Prints and Drawings.

This powerfully symbolic work is one of the most expressive of Vernon Hill’s highly individual etchings. Indeed, Sweeping Flame shows Vernon Hill’s mature etched work at its height. Rarely has any British etcher interpreted one of the ancient elements of this world with such force. This exceptionally strong proof printing has an extraordinary three-dimensional effect produced by the deep etched lines characteristic of the artist’s printed of works.

On the pale cream wove paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very fine condition. Image surface excellent.