Monday, January 23, 2012

Welby Sherman

 Welby Sherman, The Baccante 1827
It is thought that this wood engraving The Baccante was cut from an Edward Calvert design by the artist, Welby Sherman. It is one of two engravings made after the subject. This version was released in 1904 in the Carfax Portfolio in an edition of 30 impressions .The other engraving of which there is only one impression (British Museum) was probably cut by Calvert when he was learning wood engraving, possibly under the supervision of  Sherman.
In the listed information on item 14 in Campbell Fine Art Catalogue 11 (2004) the author states that;
“It appears far more likely that Welby Sherman’s engraving was the first engraved version (probably based on a drawing or painting by Calvert),  possibly even produced as Sherman instructed the inexperienced Calvert in Wood engraving techniques… The highly evocative design with its strongly pagan associations is filled with the ecstatic lyricism which characterises Calvert’s finest works. The design of the musician is thought to be derived from Greco-Roman figures and may have originated from a gemstone; however the idyllic pastoral setting appears completely of Calvert’s own invention and is in tune with his passionate images of the ‘Ancients’ who, along with William Blake, had been inspired by the discovery of an untainted countryside around the village of Shoreham during the mid-1820’s”
Campbell (Autumn 2004), p25
There is very little information written about Sherman or the part he played with the Ancients. It is thought that Palmer’s wood engraving, Harvest under a Crescent Moon was probably engraved by Sherman in 1826. It is also known that Sherman stayed at Shoreham for extended periods and was often short of money. He even swindled Palmer’s Brother out of his family inheritance of £500  in a billiard game, and fled abroad.

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