William Nicholson, London Types,
From a set of framed original woodblock prints, c1898. With original mounted poem relating to the image on reverse. "When William Nicholson designed his stylish 'London Types' in 1898 - that together with his 'Almanac of Twelve Sports' and 'An Illustrated Alphabet' were to make his reputation as a printmaker - his son Ben, who was to eclipse him entirely in the history of British Art through his Modernist works, was only five years old. While working within the culture of the British popular print, William Nickerson deliberately chose to use the coarse-grained side of the wood block in his wood cuts, in a style that owed more to Toulouse Lautrec and Japanese precedents than to native visual traditions - which give these prints an innovative quality, even as they might seem to be celebrating unchanging roles in British society. Although not strictly 'Cries of London,' some of these characters are familiar from earlier series of prints stretching back over the previous centrury and, recognising this, Nicholson portrays them as quaint curiosities from another age. In each case, the ironic doggerel by W.E. Henley that accompanied them poked fun at the anachronistic nature of these social stereotypes, through outlining the ambivalent existence of the individual subjects - whether the street hawker displaced in Kensington far from his East End home, or the aristocratic lady at Rotten Row challenged by her suburban counterparts, or the drunken Sandwich-man displaying moral texts, or the fifteenth generation Bluecoat boy at Charterhouse School in Smithfield now moved out to Horsham." - The Gentle Author.