Obituaries


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



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