Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Joseph Webb

Joseph Webb 1908-1962
I first saw Joseph Webb’s etching Rat Barn (1928) in the mid 80’s through British Print dealer Elizabeth Harvey-Lee. I remember being struck by the dark gothic grandeur of the building as it rose up from the primordial stone cliffs in the foreground. I also responded to the way the artist had built up the rich blacks through a series of successive etches of overlaid lines. It has taken many years for me to acquire these three works by this artist as they seem quite difficult to track down.

In Joseph Webb, the lights that flit across my brain by Robert Meyrick 2007, the author notes that Webb often made journeys to various parts of the UK to visually record  aspects of Britian’s architectural heritage which may have been threatened by development. He was a solitary person who often made these journeys on foot.

Like Drury and Sutherland Joseph Webb was also influenced by the etchings of the senior artist F.L. Griggs and his interest and love for ancient architecture.  Webb visited him at Chipping Campden in 1929.
 “Griggs taught Webb to mix warm black inks and convinced him of the virtues of using antique laid papers… Both artists shared a love for ancient buildings and their works convey similar religious and mystical concerns. Griggs became the principal contemporary influence on Webb’s etchings. He not only demonstrated to Webb his wiping and printing techniques- taking impressions of Rat Barn and Dream Barn- but imparted his enthusiasm but imparted his enthusiasm for the emotional power of Samuel palmer’s work.” (Meyrick, 2007:P16, 18 ) 
Chepstow 1928
 In the summer of 1928 Webb travelled to Gloucestershire and Southeast Wales returning along the West Sussex coast. While in Wales Webb travelled along the Wye Valley walk where he made several drawings including Chepstow from the cliff and Chepstow which he subsequently made into etchings later that year. (Meyrick, 2007)
 The rich impression of Chepstow on wove paper is from the first state. It was subsequently issued in an edition of 50 and is from the Ex collection of Beryl Gasgoyne and Jane Furst.
Ann Hathaway's Cottage 1945

This recent acquisition is the fourth state and trial proof of Ann Hathaway's Cottage, a favourite subject for many artists. In aspite of the accuracy of the subject, Webb is still able to imbue it with a sense of mystery through the exceptional treatment of the moonlight sky and the romantic light  which illuminates the thatched roof, wall and ssurrounding folliage.
Landscape River Scene C1938
This unfinished etching is one of Webb’s largest. The etching was printed in an edition of 30 by Clive Vosper in 1987 and with Beryl Gascoigne’s estate stamp recto and Inscribed by the printer in pencil.

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