A couple of years ago hidden in a box of old, dirty framed photographs, we found a lovely little print. We had no idea at the time who the artist was, we just liked the colours and style of the print.
Only when we got it back to Absolutely Nice HQ and had a look online did we find out just how celebrated John Hall is and how collectible and popular these these prints are.
Ever since we've been searching local auctions in the hope that one day we might find some more. That day finally came round again and here we have another of Hall Thorpe's beautiful woodblock prints, 'Primulas and Forget-Me-Nots'.
The picture is in general good shape for its age with some light foxing along with some surface wear and scratching to the frame.
Signed by the artist in pencil the frame measures 37cm wide, 42cm tall and 1cm deep, while the image itself measures approximately 16.5cm wide and 18.5cm tall.
The Australian-born artist John Hall Thorpe (1874 - 1947) had learnt the art of colour woodblock printing in the early 1890’s while still living in Sydney; however, he was not to use this art form as a creative medium until many years after his move to London in 1902. Like the key members of the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, Hall Thorpe attended Heatherley’s School of Art and by the end of the First World War he had begun to make the style of colour woodcut through which he was to achieve lasting fame. He held his first one man show of his colour woodcuts in London in 1918 and his success was established almost immediately. Hall Thorpe became one of the foremost exhibitors at the Colour Woodcut Society, which was formed in 1920, and by 1930 his woodcuts were sold worldwide.
The gaily coloured original woodcuts of John Hall Thorpe became something of an international phenomenon during the 1920’s and 30’s. Designed with the specific intention of providing bright, colourful decoration, Hall Thorpe’s hand-made prints were produced as a reaction against what he saw as the dull, laborious realism of so much of the decoration in people’s homes at the time. These simple yet highly distinctive hand-made works were immensely popular in their day and will remain a definitive statement of interior design between the two World Wars.