"Pictures On Glass Engraved by Laurence Whistler" 1972

WHISTLER, Laurence

w/ 80 plates

The Cupid Press


Limited edition of 1400 copies. This is number 1356 signed by the author

11" x 7 1/2"

w/ hand-typed card inscribed by Laurence Whistler dated 15th August 1958

Anthony Osborn (Photographs 1-29) and Graham Herbe (illustrator). 31 pages, and 80 pages of black and white plates. Decorative cover and slipcase. Includes Acknowledgment, Introduction, Notes on the Plates, Bibliography of works concerned with the Artist's Engravings, Glasses in Public Galleries; Engraved Window-glass and Glass Panels; and Main Exhibitions. Includes 80 black and white illustrations. Except where a goblet, decanter, window-pane or panel is illustrated in its entirety, the engravings are reproduced in exactly the same size as the originals. Sir Alan Charles Laurence Whistler CBE (21 January 1912 - 19 December 2000) was a British poet and artist, working in particular in glass engraving. In 1935, Whistler became the first recipient of the King's Gold Medal for Poetry. He engraved on goblets and bowls blown to his own designs, and (increasingly, as he became more celebrated) on large-scale panels and windows for churches and private houses. He also engraved on three-sided prisms, some of them designed to revolve so that the prism's internal reflections completed the image. His early works include a casket for the Queen Mother, and a hinged glass triptych to hold her daily schedule. Other engravings of his can be found, for example, in Salisbury Cathedral; at the Ashmolean Museum; at Balliol College, Oxford, at Stowe House; at the village church of St Nicholas at Moreton, Dorset, where every window was engraved by him over about 30 years; and in the Corning Museum of Glass. In 1947, Whistler created one of the wedding gifts for Princess Elizabeth, a glass goblet engraved with the words of a 1613 poem by Thomas Campion. The works shown are a selection of those engraved during fourteen years: between 1959 and 1972. The author thanked Her Majesty The Queen for gracious permission to illustrate one work; and was grateful to the owners of other engravings, as named in the notes. From the Introduction: It is best to begin by describing how most of the pictures in this book were made. They were drawn on the bowl of a glass with a steel point held in a tool like a pencil, no acid and no mechanical process coming into it, except that here and there, though very seldom, the same kind of point was held in a slow-revolving drill. The picture is built up mainly of extremely small dots put on at speed by a vibrating hand, and with a pressure perhaps less than that of a pencil on paper, a technique that would be called stippling if the dots did not merge into longer marks and lines, and sometimes into areas scratched or abraded all over, to achieve maximum whiteness. That is to say, whiteness will result when the glass is placed in a good light, falling from behind, against a background that is black or at least shadowy. My aim is to make glass a pictorial medium like canvas. Glass is an ideal medium for expressing the ambiguous, having ambiguity in its very nature. In theory it should be still in a liquid state, we are told, or at least viscous; in practice if feels hard enough. It can last unaltered for a thousand years, of be destroyed at a touch. It is there, and not there. That this is no flight of fancy will be confirmed by any connoisseur who has banged an antique rummer into the front of a cabinet supposedly open, or by anyone who is thankful to be only bruised after walking through a plate-glass door. Full of illusion itself, glass calls for an illusionistic art, and would do so even if this could be banned in all visual arts by the fiat of fashion. When engraved, it can be made to distinguish sharply between light and darkness, but when held to the light all distinctions disappear: There is no darkness. Gradually through years one begins to learn what to say in glass, by discovering, for oneself and within one's own limited capacity, what glass is capable of saying. There are notes on 31 plates, as well as 80 black illustrations. Hardcover in slipcase with decorative cover Limited Edition of 1400 of which this is number 1356, signed.

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