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Printing block

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1927-1928 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Platt, John Edgar, born 1886 - died 1967 (artist)
    Platt, John Edgar, born 1886 - died 1967 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woodblock cut on both sides

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Liza Axford, grand-daughter of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

John Edgar Platt is a key artist in the history of twentieth-century British colour printing taking his inspiration from Japanese woodblock printing. This collection of four woodblocks for ' Red Chestnut' (E.1626-1629-2000) provide us with a picture of his working methods. The four blocks produced a single colour print (see E.341-1986 in EDUC 9D). Artists usually have to cut a separate block for each colour, but in this case where two colours are sufficiently far apart in the design, Platt has cut two colours on one side of wood. Careful positioning of the elements on the block ensured that each colour registered with the others when printed. Platt also cut on both sides of each block for economy, so effectively 8 blocks were used for this print.

In Japanese style woodblock printing the artist usually uses water-based pigment painted onto the block like a wash. Platt used flat-ended brushes of various sizes and bamboo barens (pads) for rubbing the paper over the inked block. This wash effect can be seen on these blocks and in parts of the resultant impression.

Physical description

Woodblock for printing 'Red Chestnut' cut on both sides for parts of the same image (for different colours) featuring leaves and flowers and details of birds, with corners cut for image frame on both sides.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1927-1928 (made)


Platt, John Edgar, born 1886 - died 1967 (artist)
Platt, John Edgar, born 1886 - died 1967 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Woodblock cut on both sides

Marks and inscriptions

in white on edge


Length: 52.4 cm max, Width: 24.5 cm max, Depth: 2.9 cm max

Object history note

Gift from artist's grand-daughter.

Descriptive line

Printing block. Woodblock, one of four for printing in colour. John Edgar Platt. Red Chestnut, 1927-1928..


Wood; Ink



Subjects depicted

Birds; Red chestnut; Leaf (plant material)


Printmaking techniques

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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