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Albany E. Howarth (1872-1936). English architectural and landscape etcher and watercolorist, he first worked as a drawing apprentice in the office of Armstrong, Whitworth. About 1905 he emerged as a major etcher and frequently exhibited at such major venues as the Fine Arts Society, the Royal Academy and with the Royal Engravers he was elected an Associate of the Royal Engravers in 1920.
During his career, Albany E. Howarth etched many great architectural views in England, Scotland, Italy and (most particularly) France. As is here the case, he often combined etching with drypoint to achieve strong tonal effects. Many of his etchings during the 1920's were published by the Alfred Bell and Company, London, in editions of one hundred and fifty signed impressions. 'Prentice Pillar' bears the blindstamp of this publisher along the lower left margin.
At least up to 1912 Howarth printed most of his plates himself. Howarth took his craft seriously and his methodical approach produced some outstanding work. He appears to have been particularly attracted to the effects of light interacting with the architectural elements in his compositions, and he had a great ability to add depth and dimension to his subject matter. His fascination with sometimes exceedingly complex buildings, and their historical ornamentation must have made the etching process challenging to say the least.
Over a period of time, he refined his technique to draw the deepest lines first. He would then gradually add lighter tones to the plate as the etching process continued. Eventually, when the most delicate lines were etched to a slight degree, the deepest ones, having been etched continually at each stage of the process had been bitten to the correct depth.
It was also likely that someone like Howarth, who liked to travel, would have spent some weeks or months away from his press every year producing sets of drawings which would be made into plates at a later date. The total time to produce a drawing, transcribe it into a finished plate, and have it published could easily have spanned two or more years.
He was a prolific artist, and left a large body of work, examples of which turn up frequently in auctions around the world, having maintained their appeal for nearly 100 years.
Vintage frame and etching in good condition.
The etching of Roslyn Chapel, Edinburgh was created in the 1920's and has remained a popular subject from his portfolio. This perspective is of the Prentice Pillar within the Chapel. This original etching is hand signed in pencil, lower right and stamped, bottom left.
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Frame: 24" x 16"
Image: 15 1/2" x 8 1/2"