'Print REbels' exhibition at the City Assembly House 9th July-27th August 2021
Posted by IGS
Headlights Over the Hill, Seaford. Sir Francis (Frank) Job Short RA PPRE, (English, 1857-1945) 1927
This is amongst Short's rarest and his most highly sought after prints: an edition of 50 was planned but only 34 were printed, plus a handful of proofs, before the clarity of the mezzotint gave way; 22 impressions are in gallery and museum collections. It is an excitingly modern translation of the traditional lamplit theme to an up-to-the-minute night image of an approaching car's headlights on the coast road from Seaford to Newhaven in Sussex. Martin Hardie writes: "The flash of a car's headlights on the coast road from Seaford to Newhaven; in the distance, Seaford Head, and the English Channel to the right." This mezzotint was exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Royal Hibernian Academy in 1927.
Mezzotint is an intaglio process and created by indenting the metal printing plate by rocking a toothed metal tool across a metal surface. Each pit holds ink and if printed at this stage the image would be pitch black. However, the printmaker creates dark and light tones by gradually rubbing down or burnishing the rough surface to various degrees of smoothness to reduce the ink-holding capacity of areas of the plate. Short’s compositions redefine mezzotint.
Frank Short lived and worked in London and Sussex for most of his life. He is considered one of the leading figures in the field of etching and drypoint and responsible for reviving interest in aquatint and mezzotint techniques.
Edward Twohig RE (Fellow)
'Print REbels' at the City Assembly House would not have been possible with the financial support of Northern Trust (Ireland), the Heritage Council and Camilla McAleese.