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Saturday 11 July 2020

William Strang’s etching, "The House in the Lane", 1897

This post is a bit out of the ordinary as I’ve decided to show an etching and painting that I made many years ago—way back in 2008 to be exact—that reference a small soft-ground etching by William Strang, “The House in the Lane”, 1897.

When I purchased William Strang’s print in an on-line auction at the time, my view of it was as a tiny thumbnail-size image in the auction listing. Looking at this small reproduction I thought that I could discern an organic Art Nouveau flow of lines portraying trees and a drawing style reminiscent of Alphonse Legros’ hatched strokes. After receiving the print through the mail, however, the image did not match this mental picture.

On first sight I was dismayed that the organic flow of rhythms I had seen in the thumbnail image was not solely about trees: there was a house that featured strongly. Moreover, it was a house with all the architectural appeal of one of the plastic houses in a Monopoly game. No doubt this house would have held personal significance for Strang, but for me it was an unnecessary intrusion on my wishful vision of what I thought that I had perceived in the reproduction. After several years of harbouring this mental construction of how Strang’s print might have been, I etched and painted “Referencing Strang” to recapture my vision. Using a similar arrangement of subject material as that employed by Strang, I sought to reconfigure Strang’s imagery with the mindset and sensitivities of a contemporary North Queenslander living in the hot tropics. In short, I wished to reconstruct Strang’s print in the way I had originally wanted it to appear. In a sense I guess that my etching and painting based on my initial response to Strang’s print as a miniature reproduction is really a psychological self-portrait that just happens to be a landscape.

William Strang (1859-1921)

"The House in the Lane", 1897, published as the frontispiece to Hans W Singer and William Strang’s “Etching, Engraving and Other Methods of Printing Pictures”, published in London in 1897 by Kegan Paul , Trench, Trüber and Co.
Soft-ground etching with plate tone on laid paper (unsigned).
Size: (sheet) 21 x 15.4 cm; (plate) 15.1 x 10 cm.

Condition: a faultless impression with full margins as published in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use).

I am selling this small (unsigned) etching by Strang for AU$227 (currently US$157.72/EUR139.55/GBP124.96 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this etching used as a exemplary frontispiece illustration on the art of etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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