An new exhibition of hand-made prints by a local master printmaker, John Liddell opens at Bournemouth’s Russell-Cotes Museum & Gallery from 19 September. All the works are unique, and all for sale.
John Liddell (1924 – 2005) lived and worked in Bournemouth, where he taught at the Municipal College of Art. He was an inspiring teacher and a gifted printmaker and artist. His linocuts, woodcuts and wood engravings captured the buildings, coast, countryside and day-to-day life of his surroundings, and were produced in his studio at his home in Bournemouth.
Born in north London, John trained at Hornsey College of Art in the 1940s, and became a schoolteacher in Banbury and High Wycombe before joining Reading School as Head of Art. From there he moved to the teacher training department of Bournemouth Municipal College of Art, settling in Bournemouth in 1954. He spent a year teaching in Philadelphia and went on to lecture in Southampton and London.
Early retirement in 1979 enabled him to concentrate on drawing and printmaking, which he had always pursued with enthusiasm. Particularly skilled at architectural studies, he drew – and often cut in lino or wood – buildings, street scenes, townscapes and boats. He exhibited regularly around Hampshire and Dorset, and in London.
In 1991 he founded Poole Printmakers, in an ancient building in the heart of old Poole, as a workshop where local printmakers, beginners and schoolchildren could use a selection of old presses and equipment to produce their own work. It is now a thriving society, where John ran classes, summer schools and weekly sessions, teaching and helping others with linocuts, woodcuts and wood engravings until shortly before his death at home in Bournemouth aged 81.
He was an active member and ex-Chairman of the Bournemouth Arts Club, and encouraged local artists, beginners and schoolchildren. He exhibited widely and his work is in galleries and private collections around the world.
Helen Ivaldi, curator of the exhibition, said “We are delighted to be able to show this extensive collection of John Liddell’s work, demonstrating his talent and contribution to the local community. We extend our thanks to John’s family for their help in putting this exhibition together”.
The work in this exhibition includes linocuts, woodcuts, wood engravings and sometimes combinations of these techniques. Each piece is produced by hand, using different blocks, or adaptations of the original block, for each individual colour. The artist can vary the colours and experiment with application of the inks and pressures, making each print – even in an edition of apparently identical prints – completely unique. This is a selection of what remained in John’s studio when he died. It includes signed and numbered editions, unsigned and experimental work, and examples of his many sketchbooks.
Miscellany: Linocuts, Woodcuts and Wood Engravings by John Liddell will be exhibited in the Cafe Gallery.
Free entry, fee applies to enter the house.
See John Liddell Miscellany: Linocuts, Woodcuts and Wood Engravings at the Russell-Cotes from 19 September 2017 – 14 January 2018