An Alphabet - Lithographs by William Nicholson 1898
Artist:William Nicholson (British, Newark-on-Trent 1872–1949 Berkshire)
Publisher:William Heinemann Ltd. (London)
Medium:Illustrations: lithography – all double mounted with black border, ready to frame . Please Note £170 EACH and notify us of letter/s
Size : In Mount size 41.3 × 36.3 cm – Individual Art 26.3 × 21.3 cm
Lithographs of the Alphabet ( the following are NOT available A, H, J and P ) if you want photograph of particular letter please ask.
Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) was an English artist well known for his unique style of woodcut prints. Beginning in the 1890s, he created posters with his brother-in-law James Pryde, using the pseudonyms J. & W. Beggarstaff. In 1897, Nicholson produced a woodcut of Queen Victoria that was very well received and helped establish his reputation with the British public. About that same time Nicholson cut a series of wood blocks of An Illustrated Alphabet for publisher William Heinemann. Originally issued in a very small run of hand colored woodcuts, their popularity led to the images being transferred to lithographic stones
Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)
Sir William Nicholson is widely regarded as one of the foremost English artists of his generation. He achieved fame as a printmaker long before he became widely known as a painter. As early as 1890 he began to make woodcuts and to experiment with the addition of subtle tints of green, ochre and amber to his black and white compositions. He soon became known for his skill and innovation in the medium, elevating the art form, both aesthetically and commercially.In 1897, Nicholson produced his celebrated portrait, Queen Victoria, which became one of the most famous British prints ever made.Originally there were four series of woodcuts entitled, Portraits, Almanac of Twelve Sports, Alphabet and London Types.
Nicholson’s Alphabet series brought him success with the public and critics whilst he was still a young man. The prints, originally conceived as a tiny edition of hand-coloured woodcuts, were published by William Heinemann as lithographs in 1898.Several of the figures are witty and ironic. For example, A was an artist is a self portrait of Nicholson as a pavement artist whilst B for Beggar shows his brother-in-law, James Pryde leaning on a staff.Pryde and Nicholson were, at the time, working together under the pseudonym J & W Beggarstaff.
A General Note on Nicholson’s Woodcuts and Lithographs
As stated earlier, there were originally four series of woodcuts entitled
- Almanac of Twelve Sports
- London Types
Original Woodcut Editions
Nicholson was involved in their production. He hand coloured them, each was fixed to the plate and he signed them in pen and ink on the board on which each strike was mounted.Their appearance is quite distinct as compared with the lithographs.There is some uncertainty as to the edition size of each series but it is believed that there were about 40 in each case except in the case of the Alphabet series, which the experts opine was an edition of only 30. For this series Nicholson is known to have stipulated ‘not more than 30.’
Lithograph edition by William Heinemann
They were produced in 1898 by William Heinemann and took following two forms:
It was printed on cartridge paper, which generally turns brown with age and also offsets ink from facing pages.
It was printed on Japanese vellum and usually has a creamy colour. Edition sizes are not known.
US and French Versions
All the copies for the US co-publisher, R H Russell were produced in London. R H Russell’s orders typically were 150-250.
Stock number: H428/787