Wednesday, March 21, 2012

34. An original print

On 18 March, 1937 - 75 years ago - Charles Shannon died. Next week, an exhibition on printmaking 1893-1895 will include a lithograph by Shannon at the Minneapolis Institute of Art exhibition about L'estampe originale. Shannon's contribution to this important series of original prints was a lithograph of a woman and cats, 'La femme aux chats', also called 'La Biondina'. This lithograph was described in Ricketts's Vale Press Catalogue of Mr. Shannon's lithographs (1902) as number 24: 'Biondina. A replica of No. 3 in reverse, more forcible, however in effect and execution. About fifty proofs exists'.

Charles Shannon, 'Biondina', lithograph (1894)
Lithograph number 3 was printed in 1890 in an edition of 12 copies. It was called 'The fantastic dress': 'a woman in a wide skirt moves to the left towards a mirror. In the foreground is the indication of a sofa on which are two cats'. The lithograph was later, in 1893, published in a small series, called Early lithographs, of which only 8 copies were for sale.

Ricketts's contribution to the same issue of L'estampe originale (album VII) was a woodcut, which was not well received: the wood engraving (89 x 94 mm) was printed in black on Japan paper (197 x 240 mm) and mounted on a larger sheet (433 x 596 mm). It was signed in pencil, lower right: C Ricketts. A blindstamp designed by Alexandra Charpentier for L’Estampe originale was embossed on the bottom left of the mounting sheet. Ricketts depicted a loggia to the left with a group of people, and to the right is a dragon on the roof. This engraving is known in France as 'Inondation', and in Great Britain as 'Deluge'.

Charles Ricketts, 'Inondation', or, 'Deluge', wood-engraving (1893)
The exhibition in Minneapolis will be on show from Saturday, March 24, 2012 to Sunday, December 9, 2012.