“IN A NEW ENGLAND FOREST”
Being offered at
auction is a beautiful engraving by Elbridge Kingsley (American artist,
1841-1918) entitled “New England Forest. “New England Forest was Kingsley’s first
original work to be published, and it appeared in The Century Magazine November 1882.
The piece is undated but appears to be from the later 19th century.
Kingsley claimed that the block was engraved direct from nature. Noted on a
small legend at the lower right edge of the engraving, are the words, “Engraved on wood directly from nature by
“The subject was photographed on the block in the
beginning, but the photographic copy was of no assistance in getting the true
values of tone and color.
This engraving was produced almost entirely with one
graver, the block being held in the hand.
For a part of the time I left the car and, going out upon the scene
itself, worked with the sunlight upon the block. This tends to force the mind away from finish
in the mere execution; but there is sure to be a compensation in the greater
breadth of the masses by the keeping of the whole under the eye at once, and by
a careful study of the refined portions of the scene at hand a greater delicacy
can be reached than can be found in a shining line under a magnifying
glass. There was necessarily, much
preparatory material belonging to the work, but nothing as a whole was
photographed—nothing that would be recognized as such—and mch was cut away of
that which was traced at the outside, and other forms were drawn in with the
grave as the worked progressed. The
leading thought was to be faithful to the great masses and values, simplifying
the forms as much as possible. To hold
the mind up to its first impressions required constant effort, and all the
ordinary means employed in getting from and material were of no use whatever. It was a matter of simple feeling and nerve
power held up to their best level till the work was completed.
One reviewer writes:
subject was followed by several others of Kingsley’s own designs, all equally
characterized by imaginative quality.
The mystery of the great waters must have attracted Kingley in like
measure with the elemental woods as he listened to the never-ceasing beating of
the waves to like to murmuring of the wind-stirred trees. “At Sea,” “A Rock in the Sea,” and “The
Wreck,” show how he was impressed by the unrelenting empire of the vast deep,
but circumstances led him almost entirely in the direction of landscape. He illustrated Whittier’s ‘Poems of Nature,” published by Houghton,
Mifflin & Company, with a number of original subjects. An article entitled “Signs and Seasons,” by
John Burroughs, was embellished by seven or eight nature subjects. “White Birches,” engraved from a painting
made from his sketching car, earned for Kingsley a gold medal at the Paris Exposition, 1889. . . .
original print on a very thin tissue affixed to a period card stock upon which
is printed “In A New England Forest.” The print measures 5” x 8” tall. Card, 9 1/2" x 12" tall. There is a very thin outer margin on the print. Corners tips show a dab of brown where the
print was affixed to the cardstock. The
print is in mint condition. Cardstock
with title shows some uniform age mellowing with only occasional very light and
small foxing spits. There are two tiny
holes to the upper left and right where the picture had been pinned at one
time. To the far left margin there is a
very small lighter spot.
A nice piece
depicting Kingsley’s first original print to appear before the public eye.