The Irish Lady, Land's End
color woodblock print, signed in pencil at lower right, John Platt, numbered and titled at left, 84/100 THE IRISH LADY, LAND'S END, self-carved and self-printed by the artist, from a projected edition of 100 (78 recorded, some numbered out of 150), ca. February 1922
9 1/4 by 11 3/4 in., 23.4 by 30 cm
As a student, John Edgar Platt intended to study engineering at Manchester University, but while recuperating from a minor accident he briefly attended Margate Art School in Kent where a tutor recognized his drawing skills and convinced him to transfer to architecture. This half step towards a more creative profession eventually led Platt to seek a career in the arts. He attended Newcastle, Margate and Leek Schools of Art before being awarded a scholarship in 1905 to the Royal College of Art in London where he won prizes in design, painting, architecture and modeling. His interests were quite broad, and he paid particular attention to the production of decorative arts, studying a great variety of crafts including stained glass, tapestries, books, posters, metalwork, jewelry, and woodcarving.
In 1910 Platt took a teaching position at Leek College of Art, which he managed while keeping up with mural and industrial design commissions and starting a family. He served in the First World War from 1914-1918, and upon his return took short-term positions at the Harrogate and Derby School of Arts. From 1920-1923 he was the part-time head of the Department of Applied Art at Edinburgh College of Art, where Mabel A. Royds was also teaching, and Frank Morley Fletcher (1866-1949) was the Director. Platt had learned woodblock printmaking from Allan Seaby (1867-1953), a student of Morley Fletcher's. Fletcher was impressed enough with Platt to write an article about his prints for The Studio magazine, The Work of John Platt, published in November 1925.
Platt's inclination towards architecture and engineering made him particularly keen on mastering the technical challenges of any given field. This sensitivity is evident in the production of his woodblock prints. Unlike many artists who carved and printed their own works, Platt's woodblock prints are remarkably skillfully executed: a technical feat which is so very often accomplished by the collaboration of an artist's eye towards the composition and color, and the printer's skilled hand (for example with the prints of Charles W. Bartlett). In Platt, both the artist and the artisan resided in one man.
Geoffrey Holme, ed., Modern Woodcuts and Lithographs by British and French Artists, 1919, p. 32
Frank Morley Fletcher, The Work of John Platt, The Studio, vol. 90, no. 392, November 1925, illus. p. 297
Hilary Chapman, A Catalogue of the Colour Woodcuts of John Edgar Platt, 1999, p. 23, no. 9
Chazen Museum of Art, Color Woodcut International, 2006, p. 76, no. 20
(inv. no. 10-2930)
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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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