Power to the print: when British printmaking got radical

6 May 2016

Cyril Power: The Tube Station (1932)

A new retrospective currently at the London Original Print Fair charts the most experimental period in modernist British printmaking, with prints by Henry Moore and Cyril Power. A Radical View: Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914 — 1964 is a window into post-WW1 Britain and how it inspired the innovators of the era, who pushed the boundaries of the medium — in both concept and technique — more than ever before. It then follows the modernist theme through two wars to the print boom of the 1960s.

The catalogue includes early lithography experiments by Henry Moore and Peter Lanyon, who developed the process significantly, and Sybil Andrews’ linocuts from the 1930s, which were based on her experiences of London at the time. Cyril Power’s energetic impressions of a London tube station, also from the 1930s, represent a dynamic graphic style that was considered highly modern at the time.

The show also includes rare prints by Eric Ravilious, Lynn Chadwick, Edward Bawden, Ben Nicholson, Keith Vaughan, Edith Lawrence, Graham Sutherland and Patrick Heron, and Grosvenor School artists Sybil Andrews and Claude Flight. Lithographs, etchings, woodcuts and linocuts show the variety, skill and progressive change in style that this seminal period in British printmaking produced.

The exhibition is now on show at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, Mayfair, until 8 May, after which it continues at Osborne Samuel Gallery from 9 May — 4 June.


Claude Flight: Speed (1922). Courtesy Osborne Samuel.


Eric Ravilious: Submarines – The Engine Room (1940). Courtesy Osborne Samuel.


Edith Lawrence: The Cricket Match (1929). Courtesy Osborne Samuel.


Michael Rothenstein: Boats at Burnham-on-Crouch (Essex Coast) (1956). Courtesy Osborne Samuel.


John Banting: One Man Band. Courtesy Osborne Samuel.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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