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Window Plants

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1945 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nash, John, born 1752 - died 1835 (artist)
    Baynard Press (printer)
    School Prints Ltd. (made for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Frances Marks

  • Museum number:

    E.243-2006

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2G, shelf DR112, box MP343

An accomplished printmaker, John Nash helped found the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920, and produced a number of woodcut or -engraved book illustrations for Private Press publishers such as the Golden Cockerel Press in the 1920s and 1930s. An interest in botanical subjects led to illustrations to Wild Flowers in Britain, by Gathorne-Hardy (Batsford, 1938) and English Garden Flowers (Duckworth, 1948).

Set up in 1945 by Brenda Rawnsley, the School Prints scheme commissioned well-known artists to create lithographs, which would then be printed in large numbers and sold cheaply to schools for display in classrooms; the aim was to give 'school children an understanding of contemporary art'. Each lithograph had a drawn frame so that the print could be pinned to the wall. In the spirit of post-war optimism, artists responded enthusiastically. The scheme was a unique attempt at giving children access to original works of art in a period of austerity but ended in 1949 because of financial problems. Many of the prints depict a familiar world of everyday rural or urban life, some presenting a version of the pastoral idyll and others scenes of entertainment or leisure.

Physical description

Colour lithograph showing a window from the outside. Inside the room is a woman dressed in green and wearing pince-nez sitting in a pink armchair with a striped tabby cat on her lap. A canary sits in a gold cage suspended from the ceiling. Near the woman is a three pronged bamboo plant stand with blue plant pot and aspidistra. On the window sill are six plant pots, one white ceramic with blue flowers, and five terracotta pots with geraniums, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, aloe vera or varigata.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1945 (printed)

Artist/maker

Nash, John, born 1752 - died 1835 (artist)
Baynard Press (printer)
School Prints Ltd. (made for)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

S.P.4. Published by School Prints Ltd.
Bottom right margin

John Nash. / 1945
Bottom left of image, artist signature

Dimensions

Height: 497 mm, Width: 760 mm

Object history note

Gift of Frances Marks, from her late father's collection

Historical context note

School Prints series was published in the 1940s. The idea behind the series was to commission established artists to create lithographs which could be editioned in very large numbers and sold cheaply to schools, for display in corridors, classrooms and assembly halls. The pupils would enjoy direct contact with new works of art. The entrepreneur, Mrs Brenda Rawnsley, wrote: 'We are producing a series of auto-lithographs, four for each term, for use in schools, as a means of giving school children an understanding of contemporary art.'

In the spirit of post-war optimism, the artists responded enthusiastically, and submitted sketches to the selection committee, chaired by Herbert Read, which included influential R.R. Tomlinson, London County Council Senior Inspector of Art. Many of the prints depict a familiar world of everyday rural or urban life, some presenting a version of the pastoral idyll (John Nash 'Harvesting') and others scenes of festivity (Barbara Jones 'Fairground'), entertainment (L.S. Lowry 'Punch and Judy') or leisure (John Tunnard's surrealist 'Holiday'). Each lithograph had a drawn frame around the image so that the print could be pinned to the wall.

Descriptive line

Colour lithograph, 'Window Plants', John Nash, School Prints series; London, 1945.

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Lithography

Subjects depicted

Geraniums; Aloe vera; Cat; Woman; Cage; Armchair; Canary; Amaryllis; Aspidistra; Window; Plant pots; Plant stand; Christmas cactus; Pince-nez

Categories

Prints

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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