Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)

Springtime at Fulham, 1921

£3,850.00

SKU: 6060
Original copper plate, cancelled
20.2 x 21.6 cm

Size:
Height – 20.2cm
Width – 21.6cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private Collection
Presentation:
framed

Austin’s training as an artist, at the Royal College of Art, was interrupted by the outbreak of the war during which he served in the Royal Garrison Artillery as a gunner.

Returning to the R.C.A after the war had finished Austin shared diges in Fulham (no. 58 Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6) with his fellow student print maker Tennant who recalled:

The window of the room gave onto all the back of the surrounding houses and gardens.

His print Springtime at Fulham’ was made from this window.  You will see in this that all the brick walls come together, meeting at a sort of cross roads in the foreground. This used to be a regular rendezvous for all the cats in the neighbourhood and sometimes their howling did get a bit of a nuisance at night.  Eventually we got fed up and made ourselves two catapults.  We used to gather pebbles when we were out and keep a store on the window sill.  As we had both been gunners we practised ranging’ on the cross roads at the top of the brick walls in daylight. With practise we managed to get the right elevation for our catapults so that we could land the pellet, in the dark, somewhere near the target.. 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:

Exhibited: Sanctuary, Artist-Gardeners, 1919-39, Garden Museum, London, 25th February – 5 April, 2020

Literature: Christopher Woodward, Sanctuary: Artist-Gardeners, 1919–1939, published by Liss Llewellyn, 2020

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THE ARTIST

Robert Austin
Robert
Austin
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.

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Misty Morning
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Stone Mason
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Belfry Steps
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Burnham Market, circa 1930
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Rendez-vous
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At prayer
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Boy praying
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Four Friends
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Ponte Pietra, Verona, 1925
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The Curtain
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Ex Libris – Eugénie STRONG
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Evening, 1940
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Girl on Stairs, 1937
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Private with bandage, travelling in a railway compartment, circa 1918
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The Austin Family of Lingard House, 1936
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Ling of Lingard, 1936 (CD 115)
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Winterlace I, 1954
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The Birth of Venus
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Street in Cologne
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Man with a Cross, 1924
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Lacemaker of Chartres
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Book Plate for the Prime Ministers Library (large version), 1931
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Wherefore Plough, 1924
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Prime Ministers Library (small version), 1931
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Portrait of Noel Edwards, 1936
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Winterlace II, 1954
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Alice Lush, 1928 (CD 80)
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Study of a girl’s head, 1936
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Siena Evening 1923
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Charles Murray, 1925 (CD 55)
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Sisters on a Veranda
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Campbed, 1939
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San Domenico Perugia, 1925
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Flight into Egypt
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Man with scythe, 1932/3
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Burnham Market
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Woman selling newspapers annoucing Peace Term, circa 1918
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Venice, Palazzo Pisani Moretta
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Evening, 1939
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Study for The Curtain, 1930’s
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Rob Aboard Ship, mid 1930’s
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Boy and Calf, 1927
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Spanish steps Rome
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December morning, 1938
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Litany
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Summer Night
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Spanish Steps, Rome
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A News Girl (1920)
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Empty Church – Concarneau (1949)
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Peach’s Bed. July 1934
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Italian Mother (1923)
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