Artist: Sir William Nicholson English (1872-1942) Also known as Beggarstaff along with James Pryde, Scottish (1866-1941)
Plate: NLT. 07
Original Lithograph from "London Types"
Printed by William Heinemann, London 1898.
View the Complete Set and more works at the Nicholson Collection
Sheet Size: 10 3/8 in x 13 in 26.4 cm x 33 cm
by W.E. Henley (British poet, 18949-1903) from "London Types
Take any station, pavement, circus, corner,
Where men their styles of print may call or choose,
And there-time more on it than JACK HORNER-
There shall you find him swathed in sheets of news.
Nothing can stay the placing of his wares-
Not bus, nor cab, nor dray! The very Slop,
That imp of power, is powerless! Ever he dares,
And, daring, lands his public neck and crop.
Even the much-enduring, loathes his Speeshul yell,
His shriek of Winnur! But his dart and leer
And poise are irresistible. PALL-MALL
Joys in him, and MILE END; for his vocation
Is to purvey the stuff of conservation.
"Nicholson’s portfolio of London characters anticipated even the boldest of contemporary graphics with an approach to design that pulled no punches. Little wonder, then, that by the turn of the century, and at the age of just twenty-six, he was touted as Britain’s greatest living printmaker." (goldmarkart.com)
A Newsboy, newspaper hawker, or newsie is a street vendor of newspapers without a fixed newsstand. The hawkers sold only one newspaper, which usually appeared in several editions a day. A busy corner would have several hawkers, each representing one major newspapers. They might carry a poster board with giant headlines, provided by the newspaper. The downtown newsboy started fading out after 1920, when publishers began to emphasize home delivery.
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 girls who sat with the baskets of flowers for sale were a familiar sight near 'Rotten Row' where the fashionable people of London society rode out on their horses at the edge of Hyde Park by Park Lane. The impressions of this popular edition were printed by taking a transfer from his woodblock onto a lithographic stone and adding lithograph colour" (Weston)