Printmaking by the Best of British

Tracy Emin’s etching ‘The Golden Mile’ from 2012
Tracy Emin’s etching ‘The Golden Mile’ from 2012

In the 20th century Britain’s modern artists assimilated the influences from the Continent within our nation’s unique artistic procession. Despite prices continuing to rise prints can provide an accessible way to collect work by the best of British artists.

Artists as diverse as John Piper, Paul and John Nash, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Ivon Hitchens all worked in Sussex. They sought to articulate the British landscape, architecture and life of our nation adding a modern voice to the romantic tradition.

Others like Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore followed a more modernist path though their art never failed to articulate something of the world they inhabited.

Henry Moore illustrated Sacheverell Sitwell’s ‘Valse des Fleurs, A day in St Petersberg and a Ball at the Winter Palace in 1968’ for The Fairfax Press in 1980
Henry Moore illustrated Sacheverell Sitwell’s ‘Valse des Fleurs, A day in St Petersberg and a Ball at the Winter Palace in 1968’ for The Fairfax Press in 1980

Henry Moore illustrated Sacheverell Sitwell’s ‘Valse des Fleurs, A day in St Petersberg and a Ball at the Winter Palace in 1968’ for The Fairfax Press in 1980. The copy illustrated here is number nine from the edition of just twenty signed by Sitwell and Henry Moore. The limited edition was accompanied by a lithograph by Moore. The reclining figure was a theme which Henry Moore returned to throughout his career. He acknowledged that he was first inspired to the subject when he discovered an illustration in a book of the pre-Columbian figure Chacmool in the 1920s. The stillness and alertness of the figure depicted in the lithograph is typical of Moore’s reclining figures.

John Piper was one of the most versatile British artists of the 20th century. Alongside his paintings and designs for stained glass, tapestries and ceramics, Piper’s large corpus of prints are highly acclaimed. They record the topography of architecture and landscapes following in the tradition of 18th century watercolourists whilst reinterpreting the romantic genre.

John Piper’s lithograph ‘The Annunciation to the Shepherds’ printed in 1973
John Piper’s lithograph ‘The Annunciation to the Shepherds’ printed in 1973

‘The Annunciation to the Shepherds’ illustrated here is a large lithograph dating from 1973. I love the look of surprise and trepidation in the shepherd’s face as he looks up to discover the angel above him which has come to tell him that Jesus Christ has been born in Bethlehem.

More recently Brit Artists like Tracey Emin have been employing printmaking. ‘The Golden Mile’ photogravure seen here captures her childhood memories of the Golden Mile beach at Margate with its neon lights, ice cream parlours and fun fairs. There is a joy and energy to the image depicting this memory of a seaside resort.

Today’s Print collectors are passionate about acquiring work by the best of British Artists from the 20th and 21st centuries and the market is continuing to rise. Earlier prints, too, continue to attract the collector’s eye.

These prints will be sold in Toovey’s specialist prints auction on Wednesday 4th October 2017 with estimates ranging between £200 and £500. Further entries are still being accepted.

Toovey’s Print and Map specialists, Nicholas Toovey or Timothy Williams, who are always delighted to meet with fellow connoisseurs and can be contacted on 01903 891955 or by emailing

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

Edgar Holloway, a Life Recorded in Print

Edgar Holloway in his studio at Woodbarton by Bernard Mitchell © Bernard Mitchell, 1996
Edgar Holloway in his studio at Woodbarton by Bernard Mitchell © Bernard Mitchell, 1996

It is with some excitement that Toovey’s are offering for sale selected works from the studio of Edgar Holloway (1914-2008). The sale provides an important overview and insight into the life and work of this talented, Sussex-based artist.

Lot 12 ‘Self Portrait no.18 (The Etcher II)’, circa 1979
Lot 12 ‘Self Portrait no.18 (The Etcher II)’, circa 1979

Holloway was at the heart of a revival of printmaking in the 1920s and 1930s. In the various phases of his creative life he combined the Arts and Crafts ideal of the artisan artist, influenced by Eric Gill, with the pursuit of fine art. His work is represented in many of our national collections, including the British Museum, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum and the National Museum of Wales. Further afield, his work is even to be found in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Lot 62 ‘T.S. Eliot’, etching by Edgar Holloway
Lot 62 ‘T.S. Eliot’, etching by Edgar Holloway

Edgar Holloway was born in Mexborough, near Doncaster, on 6th May 1914. His father, a former Yorkshire miner, sold art through his shop, including watercolours by Edgar. In January 1930 Edgar persuaded his father to buy him a small etching press and a supply of copper plates and would later write: ‘I like to say I learned to draw on copper plates.’ There is an immediacy and life to Edgar Holloway’s etchings, born of his particular gifts of observation and draughtsmanship. The influential author, journalist and art critic Malcolm Salaman reproduced a landscape print in the art magazine The Studio. By November 1930 the Twenty-one Gallery had agreed to handle his prints and would hold a series of critically acclaimed exhibitions at their Mill Street premises in Mayfair, London. His family had since moved to Essex and then Harrow, so that Edgar could be closer to the London art market.

Holloway obtained a pass to the print room at the British Museum, where he met the Keeper of Prints, Campbell Dodgson, who bought the young artist’s prints personally and for the museum’s collection. The Scottish etcher Ernest Lumsden had influenced the young Holloway and he now invited him to join the Society of Artist Printers in Edinburgh. During this period ‘Eastcote’ (Lot 36) and ‘Self-Portrait, 1932’ were among a series of successful prints.

Holloway’s gift for portraiture is expressed in his beautifully observed self-portraits. These introspective works gift us with a particular insight into the artist and the man. They chart a human procession through life with a piercing directness and integrity, which commands the viewer’s attention. These same qualities inform all of his portraits.

Lot 76 ‘Latton Priory, Essex (interior)’, from 1936
Lot 76 ‘Latton Priory, Essex (interior)’, from 1936

His family returned to Doncaster but in 1934 Edgar Holloway moved to Hampstead and studied at the Slade. The illustrator Alec Buckels introduced Holloway to T.S. Eliot, Herbert Read and Stephen Spender. There is such maturity in his portrait of ‘T.S. Eliot’ (Lot 62) that it is hard to remember that Holloway drew and etched it when he was just nineteen. Holloway would capture the portraits of many of T.S. Eliot’s circle.

Throughout his career, as well as portraiture, Holloway continued to record buildings, landscapes and the world around him. The 1936 etching of a barn interior, titled ‘Latton Priory, Essex (interior)’ (Lot 76), illustrates his command of the medium.

Ill health exempted Holloway from military service during the Second World War. In 1941 he became a Roman Catholic. In 1943, suffering with depression, he visited Capel-y-ffin, the monastery near Abergavenny, which had been home to Eric Gill in the 1920s. There he met Daisy Monica Hawkins, Gill’s last model. Within just a few weeks Edgar and Daisy were married. That she was his muse and inspiration is apparent in his sensitive studies of her, many of which are included in the sale. The couple lived at Capel and Doncaster with their growing family.

An invitation from Philip Hagreen to join the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic at Ditchling resulted in their move to Sussex. For the next twenty years Holloway worked exclusively as a letterer, cartographer, illustrator and designer. Edgar Holloway could not foresee his return to printmaking. He sold all but eleven of his etched copper plates in the 1950s to a scrap-metal dealer. Many of the early prints included in the sale are, therefore, very rare. However, this event gifted Holloway with the opportunity to revisit and record the memory and image of earlier subjects. The artist’s depth and layers of experience allowed him to recapture the voice and spontaneity of his earlier work.

In 1972 a series of commissions for portraits and landscapes from the United States allowed him to return to his love of printmaking. Among these is ‘Self-Portrait no. 16: Prospect of America’ (Lot 51). In 1979 Daisy Monica died. In the years that followed, retrospective exhibitions were held at the Ashmolean Museum, the National Library of Wales, in London and across the country.

In 1984 Edgar Holloway married the artist Jennifer Boxall. Together they purchased Woodbarton, which was designed by Eric Gill for Desmond Chute. When the Holloway’s arrived, there was no plumbing and only an outside toilet and single cold-water tap. This artistic couple set about modernising the house to create a comfortable home and studio in which to live and work. Jennifer inspired and encouraged Edgar in these years. Edgar Holloway was the last Chairman of the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic at Ditchling, which was dissolved in 1989.

In 1991 Holloway was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers.

Alongside Holloway’s prints are a number of paintings, which demonstrate his love of watercolour as a medium from his earliest years. This remarkable collection of works by Edgar Holloway provides a rare opportunity to understand and acquire works by this gifted artist, whose prints and watercolours are rightly represented in our national collections.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November…

Concilium Septem Nobilium Anglorum Coniurantium in Necem Jacobi I,
Concilium Septem Nobilium Anglorum Coniurantium in Necem Jacobi I (The Gunpowder Plotters conspiring), monochrome engraving by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder, circa 1605, auctioned at Toovey’s for £700.

Bonfire Night is an event that many of us look forward to with a sense of excitement and anticipation. The beauty of sparkling light, the whizzes, pops and bangs, the mist of drifting smoke and the smell of gunpowder on a cold, still November night are, for me, truly evocative. As a nation, fireworks also form part of our celebrations of major occasions: the New Year, Royal Jubilees and the Olympics, to name but a few. Amidst our excitement, though, it is easy to forget that fireworks on Bonfire Night commemorate a particularly bloody and turbulent time in our island’s history.

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is widely regarded as an attempt by provincial, English Roman Catholics to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament, in order to assassinate James I of England (VI of Scotland) and install his nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, on the throne as a Roman Catholic head of state. The plot, led by Robert Catesby, was revealed by means of an anonymous letter. Famously, Guy Fawkes was discovered with thirty-six barrels of gunpowder during a search of the House of Lords at midnight on 4th November 1605. He and his seven surviving accomplices were tortured, tried for and convicted of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering.

The print shown here was published around 1605 by a leading Dutch printmaker, Crispijn van de Passe the Elder, and shows eight of the thirteen conspirators, including Guy Fawkes. A copy of this print is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is an extraordinary depiction of some of those involved, giving life to this particular moment in history.

A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings against the late most barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuite and his Confederats, first edition, published by Robert Barker, London 1606, auctioned at Toovey’s for £350.

The book illustrated is a first edition of A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings against the late most barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuite and his Confederats, which tells the story of the Gunpowder Plot. Published in 1606, it is the earliest account of these events and centres on the story of the Roman Catholic priest Henry Garnet, who was hung, drawn and quartered in connection with the Gunpowder Plot. Many historians believe that having heard of the plot during confession, Garnet felt bound to tell no one. Instead, they claim, he wrote secretly to Rome, urging the Vatican to dissuade Catholics from such action but, sadly, there was no response to his plea. When fear overtakes understanding and tolerance, it is often innocent and good people who bear the consequences. Toovey’s were fortunate enough to auction this volume some years ago. Many of you will remember Brocks Fireworks and, rather wonderfully, the book had once been the property of the late Frank Arthur Brock, director of the firm in the early 1900s.

It is the cause for much celebration, especially for me as an Anglican priest, that these prejudices and misunderstandings are broadly behind us and that Christian people of all denominations now journey together, holding their differences, and one another, in a spirit of love, rather than fear.

Eileen Soper November 5th
November the Fifth, monochrome etching by Eileen A. Soper, auctioned at Toovey’s for £320.

The delightful Eileen Soper monochrome etching shown probably best captures our contemporary experience of Bonfire Night. Eileen Soper illustrated wildlife and children’s books for many authors, including Enid Blyton. Her etchings often depict children and in this example, titled November the Fifth, their faces, lit by the sparklers against the night sky, display wonder and excitement.

It is vital that, as a nation, we guard against replacing past animosities with new mistrust and prejudice between faiths and peoples. If we do not, it will be the innocent who bear the consequences. Perhaps Bonfire Night can be a time to acknowledge the contemporary diversity in our ancient nation in a spirit of fondness and celebration.

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 6th November 2013 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Rare Robert Walton Continent Maps at Auction

Robert Walton's Map of Europe

A scarce set of maps of  Continents of the World by Robert Walton have been consigned by an American collector for Toovey’s Select Sale of Paintings and Prints on Wednesday 5th December 2012.

Robert Walton was one of only a handful of map publishers active in London in the mid-17th Century. Not much has been written about this map maker, who produced sheet maps of the roads of England and Wales before John Ogilby. The son of a yeoman farmer, Walton was born in 1618 in Welford. After an apprenticeship with John Costard of Lothburg, he established himself as a printer, map seller and publisher near Saint Paul’s, London. Walton died in 1688, having worked in the business until 1686.  For his maps of the then-known Continents of the World, Walton took the best of the contemporary Dutch maps by Pieter van den Keere, Nicolaas Visscher, Johannes Blaeu and others and adapted them to the English market. He re-engraved his European rivals’ images, changed the integral text to English and occasionally reinterpreted the geographic information. The unifying feature of Walton’s maps is his use of the fashionable ‘carte à figure’ style: the central panel contains the map proper, whilst around the edge is a wide panelled border, filled with related vignette portraits and views. These vignettes, with images gathered from many sources, are sometimes informative and always charming.

Robert Walton's Map of America

‘A New, Plaine, and Exact map of America…’ depicts North and South America, contained within a panelled border of titled vignette views of cities, like Havana and Mexico City, portraits of explorers, such as Christopher Columbus and Francis Drake, and portraits of indigenous peoples. The map has other decorative qualities; ships, canoes and water creatures are depicted in the sea and animals fill the undiscovered land, representing some of the native fauna. Walton’s map is unique for its diplomatic interpretation of the Island/Peninsula of California. From the 16th to the 18th Century, California regularly appeared on maps as an island, despite much debate to the contrary. Today, it has become one of the most notable cartographic mistakes in history. In ‘California as an Island’, R.V. Tooley writes, “This is an extremely interesting and uncommon map being an intermediate state in the geographical conception of the West Coast, the only map I know to show this compromise solution in the controversy as to whether California was an island or a peninsula.” The other Continents are similarly interesting; Europe, for example, is the second state with King Charles II replacing Cromwell’s portrait in the panelled border, beside a view of London around the time of the Great Fire in 1666.

Robert Walton's Map of Asia
Robert Walton's Map of Africa

Single examples of Walton’s Continents maps do appear on the market infrequently. There is currently an example of the map of Africa for sale at $9500, described as “probably the rarest map of Africa produced in England”, and in the relatively recent past a copy of the map of the Americas was retailed in New York with an asking price of $24,000, described as “a rare map”. On the American West Coast, a copy of Walton’s Asia was sold for $6000 with the accompanying text: “Extremely rare, this being the first example we have ever seen offered for sale.”  Examples of the map of Europe are listed as having sold at auction just twice in the last 15 years. So, with patience, a collector could expect to come across single maps and, over a number of years or even decades, could perhaps assemble a complete set. In December, Toovey’s are offering the rare opportunity to buy the four in one lot. The last time that we have been able to trace when all four maps were offered for sale at the same time was in 1988, when a set in poor condition was sold through the trade in America. This current set (Lot 85) carries a pre-sale estimate of £12,000-18,000 and will be sold at Toovey’s Spring Gardens auction house on Wednesday morning 5th December 2012. If you require more information or detailed condition reports, please contact us, and don’t hesitate – it may well be more than 24 years before the next set comes onto the market!

Additional images of the maps, click to enlarge:

Kings, Queens and Prints

Portrait of King Henry VIII
Lot 235: Engraving by Cornelis Massijs, Portrait of King Henry VIII

The Sale of Selected Fine Oil Paintings, Watercolours and Prints on the 21st March 2012 includes a Single-owner Collection of Portrait Prints.  The collection offers works printed in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and relates chiefly to the royalty, nobility and notable figures of the eras.

The 75-lot collection includes an engraving by Cornelis Massijs of King Henry VIII (Lot 235).  Massijs (or Massys, as his surname is sometimes spelt) was born in Antwerp but was banished from the city later in life.  While living in exile in England he produced this print in 1544, which was reprinted in the year of the King’s death.  It is a contemporary image of the Tudor King late in life, portraying Henry VIII with emphasis on his authority.  Massijs shows his imposing figure and carefully designed clothes, wearing an elegantly embroidered doublet and a sumptuous fur collar. The full-frontal pose is probably loosely based on Hans Holbein’s portrait of the sitter a decade earlier.

Another impressive engraving in the sale (Lot 240) depicts Queen Elizabeth I standing full length, holding an orb and sceptre.  Anthony Griffiths in The Print in Stuart Britain states: “This is the finest of the engraved portraits of Queen Elizabeth.  It was published soon after her death in 1603, as is shown by the chronogram in the upper left.”  The engraving is after Isaac Oliver, a miniaturist born in Rouen and brought to England as a child (for a portrait of the artist, see Lot 232).  This print is the culmination of the partnership between Hans Woutneel in London and Crispijn van de Passe I, then in Cologne.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
Lot 240: Engraving by Crispijn van de Passe after Isaac Oliver, Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I

Crispijn van de Passe the Elder was a Dutch printmaker and founder of a dynasty of engravers.  The second generation of van de Passe engravers – Simon, Crispijn II, Willem and Magdalena – are all also represented in the private collection, including famous images of Princess Pocahontas (Lot 251) and the Gunpowder Plot Conspirators (Lot 259).  The Single-owner Collection of Portrait Prints serves almost as a Who’s Who of the 1500s onwards.  The majority of the collection centres around kings, queens and their families, represented from Henry VIII to Queen Victoria.  Other notable figures are also depicted in the portrait engravings, such as Richard [Dick] Whitington and his cat (Lot 233), the Elizabethan explorer Francis Drake (Lots 248, 249 & 250), Robert Dudley (Lot 246), Francis Bacon (Lot 260) and depictions of the curious character of Old Tom Parr (Lot 269), who reputedly lived to the age of 153!

This immensely interesting collection will be offered at Toovey’s Spring Gardens salerooms, just off the A24 between Worthing and Horsham, on 21st March. To view the online catalogue for the sale, or to find out viewing times, visit