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Early Etchings

There are a number of monotone Brewer etchings in which the etched image does not extend to the edge of the plate, therefore allowing a margin between the impression mark and the image itself. Usually (but not always) this space is used for Brewer’s signature and the hand-written title of the etching.


What seems to be the first of these, the “West Front of Ratisbon Cathedral.” his earliest known etching, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1909. Two more come from 1911, an untitled exterior of Ely Cathedral printed by Charles Welch as part of the portfolio of six by different artists published by H. R. Howell, and the “Aix La Chapelle (Aachen)” published by Alfred Bell & Co. with an in-plate title. Others I’ve been able to inspect are undated: “Doorway of Church at Wetzler on the Lahn,” “The Chancel Ely Cathedral,” “The Transepts. York Cathedral,” “Sonning on Thames,” and “Strand on the Green.”


I have not found any similar impressions among his color etchings (which he began making in 1913), nor with any monotone etching that can be dated with certainty after “Aix La Chapelle (Aachen).” An untitled image of the Portail de la Calende in Rouen, published in 1912 by H. R. Howell, comes to the edge of the printing plate, beginning a practice that he seems to have continued throughout his career. It is reasonable to think of the known etchings with a margin (and any others of this kind that are discovered) as among his earliest, probably done between 1909 and 1911, and possibly earlier.

Doorway to the Church at Wetzlar on the
Doorway to the Church at Wetzlar on the

Above, Brewer's earliest known etching, the "West Front of Ratisbon Cathedral," exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1909, together with detail showing its title in the impression margin. (The figures look like his brother Henry's work.)

To the left, "Aix La Chapelle" (1911) with a detail from an early proof showing topiary trees removed from the final etching. (Note the pot shadows that remained!)

To the right, "Doorway of the Church at Wetzlar on the Lahn," with detail showing its title in the margin.


Below, other etchings (two with some light damage) whose images don't fill the entire etching plate impression. They may be counted among Brewer's earliest.


(Note the untypical location of signature on the left and title on the right.)

The Chancel Ely Cathedral sepia_edited_e
The Transepts. York Cathedrall crop_edit
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