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Frank Edward Butler [1881–1976]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

BUTLER, Frank Edward (1881–1976; British-American)

Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts

woodcut / 7 inches by 9.75 inches

undated

British-American artist Frank Butler seems to be best known for a 1922 collection of his woodcuts illustrating the Chelsea section of London. Few copies have been available for auction.

Chelsea WoodcutsBy Frank Butler- RARE WOODBLOCK PRINT TITLE WITH 17 ORIGINAL PRINTS -[No publishing information, but probably London: Self-published, 1922]. Softcover with mounted title plate woodblock print on front cover. Measures about 9 x 6-3/4 inches; unpaginated [20 pages: (2-blank), (16-plate pages printed on both sides, each with hand-titled original blockprint), (2-blank)].An apparently extremely rare original edition – OCLC locates no copies and a Google search only turns up a few mentions, including a r eview in “Bookman’s Journal which is Incorporated the Print Collector, Volume VI, No. II, August, 1922” in which the following prints are mentioned: “Carlyle’s House, Cheyne Row, two cuts showing stately houses and humbler group in Cheyne Walk; Chelsea Old Church; Lindsey House, Cheyne Walk; World’s End, and Night ; Battersea Bridge”In about good condition with loose binding an thin brittle stock with covers and some pages chipped, etc., not affecting the prints………………………..Frank Butler was born in England in 1883. He and his wife immigrated to America in 1924, settling permanently in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1926. He was still living in Marblehead in 1971 at the age of 88.

Butler’s view of Boston’s Trinity Episcopal Church reveals the primary geometric power created by architect H. H. Richardson [1838–1886] at the beginning of his ascendancy to the rank of America’s greatest 19th century architect.

John Edgar Platt [1886-1967]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

PLATT, John Edgar [1886–1967; British]

“Staithes, Yorkshire”

1920-1930

woodcut / 25.1 cm x 37.2 cm / #73 of an unknown edition

Without any intention of the sort, the Collection has acquired another woodcut by British printmaker John Platt — the fourth of his works and allied with the work of other artists.

Staithes is a picturesque coastal fishing village in North Yorkshire, possibly a place over-visited by tourists in recent years but surely a remote destination when Platt recorded his visit during the 1920s. Platt was among the earliest British artists to respond the Japanese ukiyo-e or “floating world” printmaking and here he has captured the essence of “place” with a seemingly minimum artistic effort — though we know the woodcut process requires endless hours of carving and perfect registry during the printing phase. In the spirit of current Minimalist art, there is an almost inverse relationship between effort and image: greater complication and effort are required to achieve effortless simplicity.

Platt’s other work can be found here, here, and here. Note the predominance of picturesque coastal themes.