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print - The Cockerel
  • The Cockerel
    Rothenstein, Michael, born 1908 - died 1993
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The Cockerel

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1950 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rothenstein, Michael, born 1908 - died 1993 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 9, box A

Rothenstein first established his reputation as a painter and only took up printmaking in 1948. He became an enthusiast, experimenting with many of the techniques, particularly those of relief printmaking. He was also influenced by his visits to the inventive teacher and engraver S. W. Hayter, who ran a famous studio workshop - Atelier 17 - in Paris. This is one of Rothenstein's earliest prints, commissioned by the Artists International Association to celebrate the Festival of Britain planned for the following year. Poultry were a common feature of life in post-war Britain: even in cities many people kept them for a supply of fresh eggs. The cock appears frequently in Rothenstein's work, often symbolising conflict between the countryside and encroaching industrial and urban development.

In this lithograph Rothenstein paid attention to how colours mix together. The print shows how possible it is to produce a sophisticated image using a limited palette. Rothenstein has varied colours by overlaying them, for example, combining red and green for the dark shadows, and overlaying a cream stone over mauve. He employed a number of techniques, applying shapes and textures using stencils, such as the buildings, drawing in pen, as in the cockerel and the crane on which it stands, and using chalk, as seen in the chimney and in the textured patches.

Physical description

Colour lithograph with stencil and applied texture on paper. Printed predominantly in dark green and reddish browns. In the foreground a cockerel on a cross pole, in the background a landscape with houses.


1950 (printed)


Rothenstein, Michael, born 1908 - died 1993 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Michael Rothenstein
Signature; within the print; lithography

Michael Rothenstein
Signature; pencil

Maker's identification; pencil


Height: 46.5 cm printed surface, Width: 73.5 cm printed surface, Height: 52 cm sheet, Width: 76.8 cm sheet

Descriptive line

'The Cockerel', colour lithograph with stencil and applied texture on cartridge paper by Michael Rothenstein, 1950

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1951


Paper; Printing ink


Colour lithograph; Stencil; Applied texture

Subjects depicted

Cockerel; Daybreak



Production Type

Limited edition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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