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WORK OF THE WEEK | 18 November 2019

CAG.274 Mabel A. Royds, The Fall (or The Waterfall), c.1938, colour woodcut on paper, 29 x 25.2 cm. Purchased, Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, 1939 (Gibson Bequest Fund).

The Fall (c.1938) is a fine example of interwar printmaking by British artist Mabel Allington Royds (1874-1941), who was particularly noted for her colour woodcuts.

Often made on demand (rather than in editions), each of these possess unique variations owing to her method of applying pigment with a brush, instead of a roller, to the printing blocks. Ever resourceful, for these she sometimes used pastry boards in place of cherry wood. It is unsurprising then that this print – which we purchased from the Edinburgh dealership Doig, Wilson & Wheatley in 1939 – differs considerably in tone from another version held in the National Galleries of Scotland collection.

Having grown up in Liverpool, Royds trained in London, under Henry Tonks (1862-1937), and then Paris, with Walter Sickert (1860-1942). In 1911, she began teaching at Edinburgh College of Art. It is here that she learned techniques of Japanese ukiyo-e printmaking and met fellow printmaker, Ernest S. Lumsden (1883-1948), whom she would marry. Having previously worked in Canada, the artist later travelled extensively in Europe, India, and the Middle East.

The Fall (c.1938) by Mabel A. Royds is featured in EVERYTHING OF THAT TIME MIGHT SOON END, which runs until 24 November 2019.

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