The Seductive Art

The British Passion for Etching 1850-1950

Elizabeth Harvey-Lee

A comprehensive reference
& visual summary of British
etching from 1850-1950, in
the century which
encompassed the Etching
Revival and the Etching Boom.
Publication date:
July 2001
Publisher :
Elizabeth Harvey-Lee
Illustration :
849 b/w illustrations plus
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781902863047

Dimensions : 275 X 215 mm


The Seductive Art is a comprehensive reference and visual summary of British etching from 1850 to 1950, a golden era in British printmaking, the century which encompassed the Etching Revival, the Etching Boom and the etching crash.

385 artists are represented and over 800 etchings are illustrated and described. Most of the artists included have a separate, dictionary-like, entry with a small etched portrait or self-portrait where available, and at least one example of their work illustrated.

A Preface describes the seductive appeal of the medium, the particularly British enthusiasm for it, the stylistic tendencies and character, and illustrates magnified details of the relevant etching techniques encounted in the catalogue descriptions - etching, drypoint with burr, mezzotint, line engraving, aquatint.

The catalogue is arranged in a roughly chronological sequence, both overall and within the subsections; the chronology being based on the date the artist began his etching career. As appropriate, groupings of artists have been determined by the art institution at which they trained, or according to ethos or friendships; or even lack of affiliation. As by coincidence several of the leading etchers were Scots by birth or association, some have been included in a distinct 'Scottish' section. Colour etching is also given a separate section.

Most sections, and some subsections, are preceded by an introductory essay. Topics include details on the immediate forerunners; the 'founding fathers'; the foundation of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers; specifics on the most relevant art schools, their staff and students, including the Royal College of Art, the Slade, Goldsmiths and Bolt Court; the Etching Boom years which saw the establishment of the Print Collectors' Club, the series of annual volumes of Fine Prints of the Year, the moving to Britain of The Print Collector's Quarterly journal in which were published articles on, and catalogue listings of, many of the prominent etchers of the day; the Rome Scholarship in Engraving (with a list of all 19 of the Rome Scholars for the period from its founding to the outbreak of the Second World War, and catalogue entries for 14 of the artists concerned). A Contents page itemises all the various sections. Two Appendices give information on, and membership of, the Society of Graphic Art and the Society of Graver Printers in Colour.