Wendy Batt (1942–2022)
Wendy was a founding member of Bath Artist Printmakers, established in 1984. She lived and worked in Bath for most of her life. She trained at the West of England College of Art in Bristol and subsequently taught art, first in a secondary school and then as a lecturer in Adult Education. Wendy’s background in education was evident in the way she was always ready to support people at Bath Artist Printmakers and on hand to help in the smooth running of every aspect of the workshop, especially courses. Wendy was a committed printmaker, printing almost full time throughout her retirement for as long as she could. She was an elected member of the Bath Society of Artists and ran courses in the many disciplines she had mastered. Wendy made prints using various techniques with great skill, including collagraphs, linocuts, monotypes, etchings and drypoints. She was an expert calligrapher and excelled at making hand-printed cards, which sold like hot cakes from the workshop front desk. Her inspiration was drawn from local familiar places which included allotments, trees, coastlines, churches and historic buildings, as well as angels and dog walkers! She passed away in December and will be sorely missed by our small community of printmakers in Larkhall, Bath.
Howard Jeffs RE
Dame Elizabeth Blackadder RA RSA (1931–2021)
Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk and studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art under William Gillies. On graduation, she was awarded a Carnegie travelling scholarship and an Andrew Grant Post-Graduate Scholarship, which she used to travel through former Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy focussing her research on Byzantine and classical art. She returned to Edinburgh and taught at ECA for over 20 years.
Elizabeth developed a unique style which was instantly recognisable and sought after. Whenever her work was shown, at art fairs for example, visitors would beat a path to see her latest rendition of cats, flowers or images from her travels in France, Italy and Japan. Her trips to Japan in particular influenced her style in terms of colour and pattern.
Elizabeth began printing at Glasgow Print Studio in 1984, creating more than 150 editions. She was the most delightful, generous, unassuming and modest of artists. She would happily sit amongst the rank and file of the organisation working away on her etching plates and separations for screenprints.
Elizabeth’s contribution to the visual arts has been widely recognised including by both the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy, becoming the first woman to be elected to both institutions. In 1982 she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to art and made a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. In addition, she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Honorary degrees from several universities but none of these were sought after. John MacKechnie MBE RSA
Ken Campbell (1939–2022)
Ken Campbell’s career was a sustained experiment in the synthesis of a beloved trinity – typography, fine art and poetry – rather than a deliberate manoeuvre in the field of artists’ books that his works have helped to define. Always resistant to labels, Campbell was not fond of the term ‘book artist’, and, during one of our last conversations, chose to describe himself saying: ‘I have been a printer and a designer – and even a reader of books.’ Born in London to ‘an incredible storyteller’ mother and a silent dock-worker father, Campbell proudly traced his lineage to one ancestor working as ‘a puller-down of old buildings’, and another documented merely as ‘Scavenger’. Iconoclasm and linguistic contraband held sway in his studio. Campbell served a traditional apprenticeship and attended the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts, completing his studies in 1964. Known for his virtuosic performances using the instruments of the letterpress printshop, his work also testifies to its emergence in the sour wake of Punk through its conscription of an office rotary press for Terror, Terror(1977) and embraced the digital future in WALL(2008). Despite technical skill he relished accident and kept an eye open for the roses that spring from the midden: printing the blind side of dissed type, layering ink until pages stuck together. This volatile, risky presswork often fumed against religious and territorial injustice. His books are held in many public collections and all 24 are catalogued online at brokenrules.co.uk
Peter Forster (1934–2021)
Peter Forster was a leading British wood engraver renowned for his coloured satirical works that showcased his mischievous sense of humour. Born in Fulham in 1934, he was introduced to wood engraving by Mary Maddick at Luton Art School and pursued it under John Piper at Ruskin School in Oxford.
Following stints of teaching and book design, Peter turned to freelance work in 1985 and flourished. Commissions from the Folio Society fulfilled his passion for literature and included engravings for Chaucer and Shakespeare; De Profundis by Oscar Wilde; Wuthering Heights and Romola. For his own artwork, Peter wrote, designed and printed many small booklets. Britannic Majesty was particularly memorable, featuring caricatures of the royal family as mythological creatures. Each Christmas, one looked forward to cards featuring scathing portrayals of current political figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Peter became involved in the revival of the Society of Wood Engravers and, despairing at the dearth of information, started a monthly newsletter. He sounded out possible titles with me and I laughed when he proposed Multiples. I explained that when the multiple tool was introduced in the UK during the 1920s, engraving purists had rejected it as they thought it was cheating. Peter was thrilled with the idea of controversy and immediately engraved the masthead, using a multiple tool of course. Peter brought much needed light-hearted relief to the Society. He was an active campaigner for gay rights in the 70s and 80s and is survived by his partner, Hugh White, after nearly 50 years together.
Hilary Paynter PPRE
Printmaker and painter Frank Connelly died in January aged 72. Brought up in Stockton-on-Tees, he studied at Hartlepool and Sheffield, becoming a postgraduate scholar in the Royal College of Art illustration department in the 1970s. He then worked for the influential Birgit Skiöld, whose workshop in London attracted artists from the UK and overseas; Jim Dine, David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi were among many who visited to make etchings and lithographs. Frank worked closely with the artists and became Birgit’s right-hand man. He went on to teach at City Lit and Morley College, where from 1999-2015 he ran the printmaking department.
Fuelled by his knowledge of art, literature, music and cinema, Frank was a generous, witty and erudite teacher. With both students and professionals he seemed to have an intuitive understanding of what they wanted to achieve and the simplest way of helping them do it. Always inventive with materials (car-spray for aquatint!), Frank was an inspiration to many.
Frank’s paintings and prints were informed by his wide interests and an acute eye for his surroundings. The etchings are lyrical in subject but taut in execution. Still Life dates from the 1970s when he lived in a west London tower block. The structure of the interior it depicts, with mantlepiece and objects, seems to mimic the motorway outside with both beauty and a haunting unease.
Jane Joseph January 2021
Without the heavy persuasion of Frank Connelly, I would not have made a print since the early 1960s at Ipswich School of Art. Frank appeared, the persistent visitor from the Print Room above my Life Class at Morley College, a seductive etching plate in hand. I finally submitted and a close friendship and intimate work-collaboration evolved. Ever the true teacher, Frank had the ability to open people up, inspire and then, most importantly, let them fly. His unique combination of sensitivity and expertise was complemented by his habit of bursting into an Ivor Novello medley at the drop of a hat, at the most unexpected moments. Those sessions in the Print Room of filthy hands, sweat, success, failure, constant experiment and camp were some of the richest of my life. Thank you Frank, for 15 years of pain, pleasure and toil as all those etchings and monotypes, made by us both, rolled off the press. Frank’s generous legacy of inspiration lives on.
Anthony Dyson Hon RE (1931–2022)
Tony studied at Leeds College of Art and at the Courtauld Institute. He then taught Art and History of Art in schools and colleges, later becoming Senior Lecturer at the University of London Institute of Education, which is where I first met him. A lasting friendship ensued and as my Vice-President, Tony was always supportive and considerate. Widely published, including in Printmaking Today, Tony’s first book ‘Pictures to Print’ had emerged from his doctoral thesis and he continued to be fascinated by all the methods involved in printmaking. He had deplored the secrecy involved in those 19th century editioning studios where the apprentices were forbidden to observe the total process and only progressed when someone died or left. He was essentially a humane and generous man and was dedicated to teaching and sharing skills throughout his life, as seen in his seminal book, ‘Printmaker’s Secrets’. Tony established Black Star Press in 1987, where he editioned for other artists including Robin Tanner and Harry Eccleston as well as printing historic engraved plates for the Tate Gallery and Harvard University. His own work was joyous and precise. His regular visits to France inspired a wide range of prints from the minutely detailed etchings of gateways and attics to bold, brightly coloured tractors and fruit. Already an Honorary Fellow, Tony was immediately welcomed as an exhibiting member in 2003. He will be missed by so many artists, buyers and galleries who loved his prints and appreciated his expertise and unpretentious manner.
Hilary Paynter PPRE
James Heward ARCA (1931–2022)
James (Jimmy, as he was generally known) Heward was an influential and much-loved artist and teacher, who dedicated the whole of his teaching career to the printmaking department of Winchester School of Art (WSA). He studied at Carlisle College of Art (1948–53) and, after a couple of years of National Service, went on to the Royal College of Art (1955–8). Soon after graduating from the RCA he was offered some part-time teaching at WSA. Jimmy was an expert lithographer and wood engraver, but had an enthusiasm for all types of print. He soon became a mainstay of, and later, Head of Printmaking. Under his leadership it was a warm, caring and organised area where students were helped immensely to develop their work in all forms of printmaking. Initially a service area for Fine Art, under Jimmy’s thoughtful and expert guidance, it developed into a degree area in its own right. Jimmy’s was a quiet and gentle presence, always keen to help staff and students in any way possible. He was universally liked by the students for his calm and caring nature. He built a strong and vibrant department that produced many fine printmakers and left a thriving legacy when he retired in 1993. Jimmy managed to maintain a continuing practice throughout his life, centred mainly on printmaking. His work was characterised by confident and sensitive drawing and sparing but assured use of colour.
Michelle Griffiths VPRE
Garth Jones (1944 -2021)
A quiet generous-hearted man who had a lifelong passion for printmaking is how many Sudbourne Printmakers remember Gareth Jones. He was the driving force behind the studios which he moved from his home in Ufford, Suffolk to larger premises in Sudbourne in 2002.
Under Gareth’s guidance the Sudbourne Printmakers became a place for peaceful creativity, fun, chat and companionship amongst the members. There was always a warm welcome from Gareth and support over the day. His knowledge of printmaking techniques was formidable and his generosity in sharing this knowledge quite wonderful.
Gareth was a man who wanted to pass on his printmaking knowledge and skills to as many people as he could during his lifetime, often going out of his way to help young, struggling artists and the elderly. Over the years more than 70 members enjoyed his tuition and he taught many more at various art colleges, including The Slade in London as well as local school children who came to enjoy a day of printmaking.
He was very forward in his wish to teach printmaking, but very modest and quiet about his own work. It is often the way that one only finds out about a person when they are no longer with us. This quiet, modest and generous-hearted man is sorely missed. Jennifer Hall
Roger Anthony Farrand
22 June 1934 – 14 September 2020
My friend Roger Farrand, who has died aged 86, was publisher and then owner of the quarterly Printmaking Today magazine, which has provided a much-needed voice for artist-printmakers since the 1990s.
The magazine’s founder and editor, Rosemary Simmons Hon RE, had set it up in 1991, using her own funds after being refused help from the Arts Council. Through her own connections, she finally was given a modest grant from the Henry Moore Foundation for the first issue. Roger came along in support through his introduction by Anthony Dyson RE shortly afterwards to lend her the professional expertise he had gained from a long career in publishing, and during my Presidency when the Council of The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers offered a blanket subscription to the magazine for our members, it really began to flourish. Roger and Rosemary then enlarged upon its quality and readership until she was able to retire and he could become its owner.
He appointed the engraver Anne Desmet RA RE as the new editor, who imaginatively expanded the journal still further, establishing it as an advocate of the argument that printmaking is an original art form equal in status to the other visual arts. Roger sold the title to Nick Gingell of Cello Press to whom I introduced to him in 2000 when he then retired.
Born in Warwick to Ernest Farrand, a railway signalman, and Lucy (nee Edna), a cook, Roger attended Warwick Grammar school and then won a scholarship to read history at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he met fellow student Gillian Hanson. After national service in Malta and Tripoli he and Gillian married in 1957, raising three children.
He began his publishing career in 1957 as an editor at Reader’s Digest magazine before joining Academic Press in London, first as editorial director and then, in 1971, as managing director. During his time there he saw the commercial potential of academic publishing and developed a business model replicated later by larger publishing houses such as Reed Elsevier. By the time he left Academic Press it had 50 journals on its list, including titles such as the Journal of Molecular Biology and the Journal of Sound and Vibration.
In 1982 he set up his own company, Farrand Press, which also produced scientific journals, notably the British Journal of Psychiatry, as well as books of medical research, some of them by Gillian, who became a specialist in intensive care treatment and diabetes mellitus. He wound the company up in 2000 when he retired.
Roger was a polymath and a linguist, a generous man with interests in hill walking, rugby, opera and wine. He had a wonderfully sharp wit and enjoyed the company of many friends.
He also travelled widely in Nepal and Bhutan with Gillian. On a trek in the Himalayas in 1996 they reached 17,000 feet, at which height they were both stricken by pneumonia. Although Roger recovered, Gillian developed pneumococcal septicaemia, which led to her untimely death from septic shock.
He is survived by their children, Timothy, Anthony and Stephanie, and ten grandchildren.
Joseph Winkelman PPRE
Tom Phillips CBE RA (1937–2022)
Tom Phillips was a printmaker by instinct. As an admirer of William Blake he gravitated towards the medium whilst a student at Camberwell College of Arts in 1962, making a small series of Pop Art influenced etchings deriving from cigarette playing cards and other disposable ephemera of the day. This interest continued for the rest of his life, reaching its peak with his multi-media, privately printed artist’s book of Dante’s Inferno, which he worked on from 1976-84. I worked on the completion of the printing of this vast book in the late 80s and went on to be a master printer for him on many etching, woodblock and linocut projects into the 90s. He worked across all mediums: etching, lithography, silkscreen, linocut, woodcuts and digital, often fusing photographic imagery with the hand drawn mark in the same image.He worked on prints in the evenings after a day of painting, he had his own etching press and print studio. He rarely ‘lost’ a plate, it could always be reimagined or remade in some way and often the accidents became a feature of the finished work, failing that the prints could be used for collages or incorporated into his other great ongoing book work A Humument. He told me his approach to printmaking was simple, he said ‘the public doesn’t care how it’s made, how many aquatints or grounds we used or how many proofs we did – they just care if it’s any good!’
John Duffin RE
Agathe Sorel RE
b. 1935 Budapest. d. 2020 London
A personal acknowledgment from Professor David Ferry RE, President of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, London.
Agathe Sorel was my first teacher of etching at art school. I was 19 years of age. Only recently, and all those decades later I was still in earnest discussion with her, particularly about her forthcoming autobiographical writings. She was a great force of creative energy, and her believe in printmaking as a pure inventive process, and one not locked solely into craft, was inspirational; for her, the photocopy machine and the digital revolution sat perfectly alongside the etching press.
Agathe’s considerable legacy in the expanding field of contemporary printmaking will continue to gain momentum and inspire new generations of printmakers. Over the years I got to know many of her close artistic associates, but also her family, and especially her husband the artist Gabo Stikey, and her son Sylvan who succeed her.
Agathe Sorel was born in 1935 in Budapest. She and her parents escaped deportation during the Second World War as a result of the intervention of Raoul Wallenberg the Swedish architect and humanitarian. She studied at the Academy of Applied Art and the Institute of Fine Arts in Budapest before fleeing to England during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. She settled in London where she studied at the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts in London.
In 1958, Agathe was awarded a Gulbenkian Scholarship and this allowed her to live in Paris for three years to study at the Écoles des Beaux-Arts, at The Sorbonne and at Atelier 17 under S W Hayter. In 1960, she returned to England, set up a print workshop in Fulham where she made her prints in the front room of the house, but also saw her move towards the innovative Perspex sculptures (Space Engravings) that were a 3D extension of the engraved and etched lines of her prints.
In 1966-67, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to work in the United States and Mexico. Indeed, international travel became lifeblood for her. Later expeditions lead her to India and a deeper interest in watercolour and installation art.
Agathe was an inspirational teacher of printmaking and was very fastidious about how a workshop should be laid out, but also very experimental, liberated and generous in her teaching methods. Over the years she inspired many students from the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, Canterbury College of Art, Maidstone College of Art and Goldsmith's College, University of London.
A retrospective of Agathe’s work was held at the Cartwright Halls in Bradford in 2004. She has been included in key printmaking exhibitions and publications over the decades, and had many many solo exhibitions around the world. Her work has been acquired by many private and public collections: Tate Art Galleries, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Arts Council of England, the British Library, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in the UK.
In the USA, her work is included in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum, The Library of Congress, Washington, New York Public Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institute, Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Other significant collections include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Copenhagen Museum, and the Bibliotheque National de France. Hong Kong Town Hall, Museum of Art Skopje, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art in Mumbai.
Agathe was Council member of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), and a long-standing Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter/Printmakers (RE).
Together with printmakers Michael Rothenstein, Julian Trevelyan, and Anthony Gross she was a founding member of the Printmaker’s Council in 1965, later becoming the Chair.
Agathe had a family house and studio on the Island of Lanzarote. She had a powerful affinity for the sea, the sun and swimming. The bare volcanic landscape of the interior of the island, were in stark contrast to the burgeoning tourism that surrounded parts of the coastline. These odd and fractured juxtapositions are clearly apparent in the many watercolours and montages she made there. Her relish of travel and the desire to learn from differing cultures is evident throughout her extensive oeuvre. Her escape from the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the many subsequent journeys and travels she made, all add up the type of global character and artist she became.
At the time of her passing, Agathe was extremely busy preparing new projects whilst overseeing the final edit of her autobiographical writings. She died peacefully at her studio in Forrest Hill, London at the age of 85. She was elegant and individual in her dress sense, complimented by a liking for exotic jewellery and make up.
Agathe remains an influential and pivotal figure in the field of European and international printmaking. The following artist statement seems to perfectly sum up her never-ending energy for making art. An art that not only said something of human consequence, but and was also in the frontline of technical innovation. It seems most fitting that Agathe has the final say. The statement was prepared by her last year, for the prestigious Queen Sonja of Norway International Printmaking Awards, in which I had the privilege of nominating her.
Throughout my career as an artist and educator printmaking occupied a vital part, but it always included features which were unfamiliar to the conventional understanding of prints.
Although my training was traditional, I wanted to bring in other materials and experimented from the early 1960’s with photographic, scientific and optical effects.
The objective remained a repeatable statement. The engravings were done sometimes by hand, but included pantographs, etchings and digital montages, and fluidity was kept between the two- and three- dimensional elements.
This enabled me to work in a large scale, which seems to come easily to the younger generation, but was controversial in the period when I experimented with them.
My objective was always to be able to convey a multitude of experiences and in my artists books or livres d’artist I was able to do this. I am presently experimenting with the latest possibilities in internet connectivity, with links established between the printed book and remote websites and information, even sound effects.
The link between the quality of the image and the possibility of producing multiple copies remains unaffected but enables the artist to concentrate on meaning, content and communication avoiding some of the practical problems of editioning and storage.
Professor David Ferry RE, President of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, London