From Hogarth to Hodgkin: Our Best Prints | Events at The Victoria Art Gallery
Image: For Jack, Hodgkin, 2005 Image: For Jack, Hodgkin, 2005 Show image info

For Jack, Hodgkin, 2005

From Hogarth to Hodgkin: Our Best Prints

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This wonderful exhibition showcases the best of our print collection. You’ll be able to see the diversity of our prints, with works on display spanning 700 years.

Before industrial techniques came along in the 19th century, artists could only make prints in limited quantities. Yet the process enabled them to reach a wider audience than with paintings. Connoisseurs collected them with enthusiasm bordering on mania. In today’s image-saturated world, it is hard to appreciate how precious prints would have seemed in the past.

Created by dozens of different artists and with a cornucopia of subjects, including landscape, satire, portraiture and views of Georgian Bath, there will be something here to please all art lovers. From Hogarth to Hodgkin features prints by old masters such as Cranach and Durer, but brings the story right up to the present day, with works by Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker and Paula Rego.

You can download a list of print techniques here.

Among the many highlights of the exhibition are:

St Eustace by Albrecht Durer, around 1501

Durer was a pioneer of printmaking. He was the first artist to really value printmaking as an artform and relished the challenge of making complex images using new techniques.

Eustace was a Roman general who converted to Christianity after encountering a stag with a crucifix between his antlers.

Simon, Lord Lovat by William Hogarth, 1747

Lord Lovat was executed for treason in 1747, the last man in Britain to be publicly beheaded. He was a notorious Jacobite, imprisoned after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 1745 uprising.

Hogarth shows Lovat just before his execution, counting on his fingers the number of Scottish clans he had recruited to the cause.

This print was a great commercial success. Sales were so high for a few weeks after it was published that Hogarth earned £12 a day.

The Abbey Church at Bath by Thomas Malton, around 1784

Although parts of this picture are painted in watercolour – the sky and the foreground – other parts are printed.

It is a hybrid work. A print has been painted to create what looks like a unique image. It is only if you look very closely that the print underneath can be seen.

Poor Old Tom Thumb by Thomas Barker, 1790

Barker was one of the first British artists to use Lithography as a print medium.

This picture uses stipple engraving, where a pattern of dots is engraved on the printing plate to create tonal variations.

The portrait shows a well-known local figure, Richard Brent. Barker loved painting these “rustic” figures: idealised, romanticised poor people.

Africa Footprints by Richard Long, 1986

Long is primarily a sculptor who works with natural materials such as stone and mud from the River Avon.

The composition of this print, a map of Africa, is formed from a series of footprints made by the artist.

For Jack by Howard Hodgkin, 2005

This work is titled in tribute to the artist’s productive working relationship with master printmaker Jack Shirreff. Hodgkin studied at Bath Academy of Art, where he later became a tutor. Here he met fellow teacher Shirreff, who ran the 107 Workshop in Shaw, Wiltshire.

Hodgkin and Shirreff developed a close creative partnership in which Hodgkin would make prints and Shirreff would hand colour them to his instructions. This made each and every Hodgkin print unique.