Tuesday, 7 June 2016


Edward Joseph Lowe (1825–1900)
Illustrated by A.F. Lydon
Printed by Benjamin Fawcett “Plate XII”; “Plate XIII”; “Plate IV”; “Plate LV”, 1856
From Lowe's "Ferns: British and Exotic", published 1856 by Groombridge and Sons, London.
Woodblock/chromoxylograph (see description of the process below) on cream wove paper
Size: (each sheet) 24.9 x 14.5 cm

Rare Prints Gallery offers the following insight into Lowe’s publication and printing process: “It was Lowe’s botanical expertise and funding that produced the work, but A.F. Lyon was the artist for the work, and Benjamin Fawcett’s printing talent created the plates. Fawcett was a well-known color printer of the time. His technique of using multiple engravings from the end-grain of the wood, known as chromoxylography, was used on this work. It was one of the first large publications to be printed in color with no hand-finishing.”

Condition: rich colour, crisp impressions with minor age-toning and very faint foxing otherwise in good condition.

I am selling these four eye-catching prints for a total cost of AU$78 (currently US$58.14/EUR51.14/GBP39.94 at the time of posting these print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing them, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.









Although this and the previous prints are clearly designed for scientific identification purposes, the specialised printing technique—essentially woodblock printing—has produced dazzling colour (without hand finishing) that is outstanding.

In terms of composition, the artist's interest may be about a brutish uncompromising central placement with no borders or other devices to charm the eye, but, for me, this "no frills" approach is what makes his prints so powerful. Despite the artist's intention to present each leaf "front on" without adding the niceties found in nature like free-roaming caterpillars, holes or dead bits, I like the fact that each leaf has its stem on the right. This consistency has turned me into a Sherlock Holmes in wondering why.

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