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Design Review: Volume 2, Issue 6 (May-June 1950)

New Ways Of Gravure

New Ways Of Gravure

A practical guide—Line Engraving, Etching, Dry Point, Aquatint, Bitten Textures—by S. W. Hayter, with preface by Herbert Read.

Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd.

This attractively produced volume is a mixture of the provocative and the practical. The graphic processes are described clearly in the text. The accompanying illustrations are sometimes too mannered and for clarity cannot compare in their class with, say, Noel Rooke's drawings for Edward Johnston's Writing and Illuminating and Lettering.

There are useful hints from the experience of the author and his atelier, seventeen colleagues. He is an amazingly inventive craftsman. He revels in experiment. He makes surface prints from intaglio plates and uses fabrics, leaves, crumpled paper, finger prints, etc., for soft ground and aquatint textures. In fact, so thoroughly does he exploit the medium that you feel that, if composing for the piano, he would regard the keyboard as rather obvious and would introduce plucking the wires, scratching the sounding board, dropping marbles down the back and perhaps banging the lid occasionally. The illustrations of his plates, however, prove that he at any rate can employ all manner of means with proper restraint. And his print in the Wakefield Collection, Laocoon (engraving with soft ground etching) was a revelation in masterly combination of the unexpected. His book is scholarly and convincing but is not for the beginner.