Leighton, Clare

(1898 – 1989)

Apple Butter (BPL 523), Top Potential

SKU: 6013

Original woodblock (cancelled)

Height: 19cm
Width: 13.4cm


The Artist’s Estate

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 65.

The original woodblocks Hog Killing and Apple Butter were produced for Clare Leighton’s iconic book Southern
Harvest (published in New York, 1942, byThe Macmillan Company). Southern Harvest comprised over 35
vignettes depicting, amongst other subjects picking cotton, shucking corn, boiling sorghum and harvesting
tobacco ‚Äì all part of the rich agricultural heritage of America’s South. It was amongst her most important
achievements, providing a unique and poignant record of rural life of the period. Leighton would often
take an entire week to produce a wood engraving, the formative ideas worked up in a pencil sketch, (see
overleaf) which would then be drawn directly on to a naked block covered in Chinese white. The design
was then painstakingly carved with tools strong enough to incise into the end grain of the block, which
was typically made of boxwood, sufficiently hard to allow for a number of prints to be made before any
loss of sharpness. Fortunately the boxwood block, unlike the copper plate, will yield an almost indefinite
number of perfect prints’, Clare Leighton wrote in her book Wood-Engraving and Woodcuts in 1932.
From each block a limited edition of 50 numbered and signed wood engravings were produced. For the
publication, a lithographic process was used.

Apple Butter was originally printed in an edition of 50 as part of Southern Harvest (New York, The Macmillan & Co.). 1942.

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Leighton, Clare

1898 – 1989

Clare Leighton attended the Brighton School of Art (1915), the
Slade School of Fine Art (1921’23) and the Central School of Arts
and Crafts. Despite her childhood nickname ‘The Bystander’, she
became a hugely visible artist on both sides of the Atlantic, and her
vast oeuvre includes engravings, paintings, bookplates, illustrations
and stained glass. Her twelve plates for Wedgwood, New England
Industries, 1952, are amongst her best-known work. 

She exhibited with the SWE in London (1923) and at the
1934 Venice Biennale ‘ attaining full membership to the Royal
Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in the same year. She also
made several tours of the United States, becoming a naturalised
citizen in 1945. By the time of her death, Leighton had authored
twelve books and made over 840 prints.


Clare Leighton
The Reverend Hill Walks Away, BPL500, 1942
Clare Leighton
The Darking Thrush, Hardy Shepherds, (Thomas Hardy), BPL 774b 1965
Clare Leighton
Singing, BPL 723 1957
Clare Leighton
I went by the field (Psalms), BPL 667 1952
Clare Leighton
Tulip Poplar Bud BPL 517 1942
Clare Leighton
The Cello Player, BPL 722, circa 1957
Clare Leighton
Cinnamon Fern, BPL 508 1942
Clare Leighton
Louisiana Pilgrimage (BPL 525), 1942
Clare Leighton
Cotton Picker (BPL 491), Cotton Frontispiece, 1942
Clare Leighton
Frontispiece Ellen… (BPL 564), 1944
Clare Leighton
BPL 664 Hear ye children (BPL664) Psalms, circa 1952
Clare Leighton
Miller (BPL 497)