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Frederick Carter

1883 - 1967

Dionysia by Frederick Carter

Dionysia   1918

  Original engraved woodblock, accompanied by a signed large paper proof impression of this wood engraving.
Woodblock inscribed with the title in ink on two edges of the block. Proof signed in pencil.
Block: 92 x 77 mm
Proof: S 352 x 264 mm; I 88 x 75 mm

£420 - the pair
Original Fredrick Carter wood engraving.

The original engraved woodblock of this imaginative and finely wrought wood engraving. Unique. This item is sold together with a rare signed large paper proof impression of this wood engraving. Both items come from the artist’s own personal collection.

The intricate wood engravings of Frederick Carter have always been considered to be the artist’s greatest works. Their inspired designs brought him three successive gold medals the book illustration in the National Competition, South Kensington - the most prestigious award of his day. Carter developed an unique, almost calligraphic style of wood engraving, shown to particular effect in this elaborately worked block. Dionysia is, without doubt, an outstanding example of this brilliant artist’s work in wood engraving.

Proof impressions from Frederick Carter’s blocks are extremely rare and the few proofs taken during Carter’s lifetime appear to have been solely for private use or for distribution amongst the artist’s personal friends. Although some of these ingenious designs were used as book illustrations, the books in which they were issued were of very limited circulation. This particular block was designed as an illustration for Frederick Carter, Twenty Drawings (1918).

Frederick Carter would begin an engraving of this sort by drawing his original design in ink directly on to the wood block and then either he, or his assistant W.M.R.Quick, would carve away the surrounding wood, leaving only the lines of the original drawing standing proud to form the printing surface. Thus, the block becomes a permanent record of the drawing which is itself destroyed. When inked, the recessed areas of the block do not print and only the raised lines, which represent the original drawing, transfer the design to the blank paper, thus creating the printed image.

The block is made from four sections, bound together with wooden joints and backed with layers of stiff card. It is in extremely good condition and could be printed from at present.

This item is sold together with a rare signed proof impression printed from this block (an excellent proof, prior to publication in Twenty Drawings). The accompanying proof is printed on a large shhet of simile Japan paper, with full margins, and is in very fine original condition. Both block and proof come from the artist’s personal collection.

Dionysia is the name given in Greece to festivals of the god Dionysus, the son of Zeus. Dionysus was the god of wine and of ecstasy, a giver of joy and a soother of cares. The festivals celebrated in his name invariably included dramatic performances of both comedy and tragedy.