Robert Austin
(1895 - 1973)

Evening, 1940

£380.00

SKU: 8366

Signed in the plate 

Print from cancelled plate

Engraving

Size:
Height – 22.5cm
Width – 17.2cm

4 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Literature: Campbell Dodgson, Robert Austin, exh. cat.,Twenty-One Gallery, London, 1930; Gordon Cooke, Drawings and Prints by Robert Austin, exh. cat.,The Fine Art Society, London, 2001;Post Campbell Dodgson 130

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.152.

Evening, a composition created during the early years of the war, is one of Austin’s most accomplished engravings. The model praying was Eleanor Hudson, (Austin’s student and mistress) a watercolourist, etcher and designer best known for her depictions of women at work during the Second World.  One of Austin’s signature prints Evening might be seen as a pendant to the same sized image Girl on a Stairs which Austin produced in the early years of WW2.  Both compositions, which evolve around solitary figures in at the bottom and top of a stair case, enveloped by shadows and silence, convey a sense of mystery. The setting of Evening was The Chapel at Burham Overy Staithe, (Norfolk) where Austin had his studio when not working in London.  


photograph of Eleanor Hudson, circa 1940. 

The stairs are those of the Methodist Chapel in Burnham Overy Staithe, Austin’s home in Norfolk. Praying appeared as a motif in several of Austin’s wartime prints – for instance Easter Sunday, 1940.     



The Second World War virtually brought his printmaking to an end. Austin would take many months to complete a plate and the unsettling effect of the war forced not compromise but a halt to that activity. Besides, his teaching commitments with the RCA meant that he spent a lot of time travelling between London and the Lake District where the college had been evacuated. He made a few plates in the late 40’s and early 50’s but the wizening of his thumb prevented him from handling the burin effectively from 1951 onwards.

When he retired from the RCA professorship in 1955 Austin no longer had access to a press and he stopped making prints until 1963 when three magnificent but very late etching were made.
Peter Black, Robert Douwma Catalogue Twenty Nine, p 5


Austin’s early plates show an extraordinary sweetness of line and often, as in his large plates of deer, beautifully unified compositions.  There is in the best sense an academic quality about these, very proper in a man who was virtually a pioneer in his his art today.  About 1929 a close study of the German masters of engraving is evident.  But Austin has passed through his probationary stage and is master not only of his technique, in which no English engraver has surpassed him, but also in using his medium in a native, personal way. Already Mr Dodgson had noticed in his work ‘an aftermath of Pre-Raphaelitism…with its harking back to the past and its wealth of realistic detail.’   

Austin’s latest plates are contemporary in subject.  At the same time his interest in Millais, the Millais of book-illustrations, is explicit.  Surely this strain, at once homely, intimate and romantic, is at the centre of the tradition of English art.  Austin’s line remains clear: his tone is given by a number of short flicks and shadings.  He is thus nearer in technique to the fifteenth-century German engravers than to Durer or Lucas van Leyden. In drawing and composition there is nothing archaic. Of recent years he has produced three or four plates regularly each year.  Of these one or two commonly represent new treatments of subjects previously treated in a rather different way.  He is fascinated with certain subjects, bells, stairs, kneeling figures, weathered wood.But he also advances to new subjects; in 1936 two very fine portraits and in 1937 the Young Mother.

Extract from The English Print, Basil Gray, Adam and Charles Black 1937, on whose cover Austin’s Young Mother featured:

Disclaimer:
Liss Llewellyn are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists. We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, artbiogs.co.uk and Tate.org and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.

THE ARTIST

Austin, Robert

1895 – 1973

Printmaker and draughtsman, born in Leicester. He studied at the School of Art there and at the Royal College of Art, 1914-16 and 1919-22, winning the Rome Scholarship for engraving in the latter year. He taught engraving at the Royal College of Art, 1927-44, becoming Professor in the Department of Graphic Design, 1948-55. Showed with RWS, of which he was a member and President; RE, of which he was a member; and the RA, to which he was elected in 1949. Austin was a meticulous craftsman-engraver and a vigorous draughtsman, as his series of drawings of Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and ballooning activities done during World War II shows. The Tate Gallery holds his work.

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, organised an exhibition of his work in 1980.

More recently he was the subject of two shows at the Fine Art Society plc (2001 and 2002), the latter organised in conjunction with Liss Fine Art Ltd.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The Angelus, 1922, original copper plate
£4,400.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Alice Lush, 1928 (CD 80), original copper plate
£6,000.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
My bed, rainy day, 1939
£9,800.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Charles Murray, 1925 (CD 55), the original copper plate
£4,300.00
Sold
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Portrait of a Young Girl, 1936
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Ling of Lingard, 1936 (CD 115), the original copper plate
£6,500.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Portrait of Noel Edwards, 1935-36
£8,000.00
Private
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Child in bed, 1930
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Springtime at Fulham, 1921
£3,850.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Self Portrait in Roman Hat, circa 1925
£11,000.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Ling of Lingard, 1936 (CD 115)
£390.00
Sold
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Near St. Martin’s Church – Leicester
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The Mother, 1932
£5,750.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Easter Sunday, 1940
£380.00
Sold
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The bath tub, 193
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Belfry Steps, 1935
£1,290.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The Choir, 1920
£1,080.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Woman sleeping, 1931
£390.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Child in Bed, 1929
£395.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
A Girl at a Gate (1938)
£2,900.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Attic Room, Lingard House, with unmade bed, 1930’s
£1,950.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Bell No. 2 (1927) Campbell Dodgson 73
£3,200.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The Belfry (1929)
£1,320.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
Souvenir of Paris, 1920’s
£1,250.00
Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)
The Fisherman, 1927, the original copper plate
£8,000.00