An Alphabet William Nicholson 1898 26 Lithographs Extremely Rare Hb Xylographer For SaleAN ALPHABET William Nicholson 1898 26 Lithographs Extremely Rare HB Xylographer Product Description
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With 26 LITHOGRAPHS in very good condition
PUBLISHER:William Heinemann, London. DATE: 1898 Assumed First Edition SIZE: 31cm x25.5 cm; 12½" x 10 " No. PAGES:26 pages and Title page. PRICE CLIPPED:No dust jacket. CONDITION: Good/Very good APPROX. PACKED WEIGHT: 850 grams DESCRIPTION: Hardback, original, illustrated paper boards.Boards are very bumped and rubbedas shown with some loss of paper covering. Corners and edges heavily bumpedandrubbed.Book is firmly bound and sturdy. Page edges shaded pink.The spine was originally pink,I believe, but has faded to brown. Plain end papers, browned withsome foxing. No inscriptions or writing. Title page with coloured illustration of a windmill. There is no tipped in advertisement at the back, present in some
copies. Internally pages predominately clean and bright with lithographs in lovely condition. Please see photos for further details of contents and condition. CONTENTS: Title Page. 26 Lithographs: A was an Artist; B for Beggar; C is for Countess; D is for Dandy; E is for Earl; F is for Flower Girl; G is for Gentleman; H is for Huntsman; I is for Idiot; J is for Jockey; K is for Keeper; L is for Lady; M is for Milkmaid; N is for Nobleman; O is for Ostler; P is for Publican; Q is for Quaker; R is for Robber; S is for Sportsman; T is for Trumpeter; U is for Urchin; V is for Villain; W is for Waitress; X is for Xylographer; Y is for Yokel; Z is for Zoologist. AN ALPHABET: Released to the public in 1898, the Alphabet series of lithographs were originally commissioned through a contract with Nicholson’s publisher William Heinemann in 1896. Under the pseudonym of ‘J and W Beggarstaff’, Nicholson and his brother-in-law James Pryde had already created a buzz exhibiting their bold poster designs, with thick, simple lettering, at the Royal Aquarium in 1894 and had begun picking up increasing numbers of commissions from theatre houses and other amusement halls. Despite their influence, however, the brothers continued with little commercial success or production and Nicholson, unable to support his young family, took to the woodcut again. After an otherwise unrewarding pull of a woodcut of the Prince of Wale’s horse Persimmon was noticed by British-based artist James Whistler, Nicholson was recommended to Heinemann, a change of fortune which would see his printing career finally reach success.
Three editions of An Alphabet were to be produced in total: an édition de luxe printed directly from the woodcuts and hand-coloured by Nicholson himself, and two other reproductions by lithography, one limited (‘Library’) and the other (‘Popular’) not. Mindful of their universal audience and the appeal of the series’ simplicity and its seemingly ‘innocent’ imagery to young children, Nicholson and Pryde decided to replace the original E is for Executioner and T for Topers of the de- luxe edition with the more appropriate E is for Earl and T is for Trumpeter in the two lithographic editions.
The resulting images are pithy, even cheeky, and their wit has retained its force despite the test of time. In the first image of the set, A is for Artist, Nicholson appears in a self-portrait; P is for Publican lies in the foreground, D is for Dandy propped up behind him. B is for Beggar acts as a cryptic signature from the brothers for the series, the beggar (another self-portrait, this time James Pryde) carrying his wooden staff as a mischievous reference to the printmaking pseudonym they had previously adopted. Ultimately, the whole series is testament to Nicholson’s ability to plainly and effortlessly capture great essence of mood and character.
NICHOLSON, WILLIAM (1872 - 1949), English painter and engraver, was born at Newark Feb. 5 1872, and was educated at the Magnus school, Newark. He studied at the Académie Julien, Paris, and about 1894 began experimenting in wood engraving, producing some admirable work in that medium, characterized by the use of bold masses of black and white or of sombre greys and browns, relieved by touches of bright colour.
In this manner he illustrated An Alphabet (1898); An Almanac of Twelve Sports (with Rudyard Kipling; 1898); London Types (with W. E. Henley; 1898); Characters of Romance (1900); A Square Book of Animals (with A. Waugh; 1900), and engraved some well-known portraits, including that of Queen Victoria. He also collaborated with James Pryde under the name of “The Beggarstaffs” in designing some remarkable posters. To the set of lithographs entitled “Britain's Aims and Ideals,” published during the World War, he contributed “The End of War.”
As a painter he is best known for his interiors and still-life pictures, such as “The Hundred Jugs” (1916), “Souvenirs de Babette,” “Miss Simpson's Boots” and “The Striped Shawl”; but his work also includes landscapes for example “The Hill above Harlech” — generally in a low key, and many portraits, including those of W. E. Henley, the painter's mother, Sir W. C. Pakenham (for the Imperial War Museum); Ursula Lutyens, and “The Girl with the Tattered Glove.” He is represented in the Luxembourg, Paris; the Tate Gallery; the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; the Glasgow Gallery; and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
He had art lessons from the painter, politician and art-master William Cubley of Newark-on-Trent, who had been a pupil of Sir William Beechey, who had been a pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was briefly a student at Hubert von Herkomer's art school, where he met his future wife Mabel Pryde (1871–1918), who introduced him to her brother James Pryde (1866–1941).
From 1893 to 1898 Nicholson collaborated with his brother-in-law James Pryde on poster design and other graphic work including signboard painting and book illustration. They called themselves the Beggarstaffs, or J. & W. Beggarstaff; in recent times they have been referred to as the Beggarstaff Brothers, although they did not use this name.
Nicholson was awarded a gold medal in the graphic works section of the Art competitions at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam for his Almanach de douze sports 1898, the French edition of the Almanac of Twelve Sports, published 30 years earlier. He was knighted in 1936.
As Author and Illustrator
An Alphabet. London: William Heinemann, 1898.
Twelve Portraits. London: William Heinemann; [New York]: R.H. R[ussell], 1899.
Douze portraits Paris: H. Floury, .
Characters of Romance. London: William Heinemann, New York: R.H. Russell, 1900.
Twelve Portraits – Second Series. London: William Heinemann; New York: R.H. Russell, 1902.
Clever Bill. [London]: William Heinemann, .
The Pirate Twins. [London]: Faber & Faber, .
The Book of Blokes. [London]: Faber & Faber, .
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