Though, if you ask her name, she ELISE,
Being plain ELIZABETH, e'en let it pass,
And own that, if her aspirates take their ease
She ever makes a point, in washing glass, Handling the engine, turning
taps for tots, And countering change, and scorning what men say, Of
posing as a dove among the pots,
Nor often gives her dignity away.
Her head's a work of art: and, if her eyes
Be tired and ignorant, she has a waist;
Cheaply the mode she shadows; and she tries
From penny novels to amend her taste;
And, having mopped the zinc for certain years,
And faced the gas, she fades and disappears.
by W.E. Henley from "London Types"
William Nicholson's woodblock prints of the 1890's were amongst
the most revolutionary British print images of the era. They used
a treatment of form, with a stylised simplification of shape, and
a handling of perspective and picture space which had had no precedent
in British art. Influences of Japanese art, and a parallel thinking
to, if not a direct knowledge of, the ideas of Toulouse Lautrec
and of the Nabis painters in Paris at the same period can certainly
be felt, although there is no record that Nicholson had actually
studied either at this date.
One of the most famous of the groups of prints that Nicholson cut
at this period was the series known as 'London Types'. This was
made at the instigation of William Heinemann, who published all
William Nicholson's early prints.
The series portrays typical figures from London life of the period.
The impressions of this popular edition were printed by taking a
transfer from his woodblock onto a lithographic stone and adding
lithograph colour. (Weston)