Patrick Procktor: The China Series
As part of London Original Print Week The Redfern Gallery are delighted to be featuring a collection of works by Patrick Procktor, including his China Series.
As Tessa Sidey wrote in 1985: 'Procktor’s best graphics are instantly recognisable for a rare control of the aquatint that imaginatively recreates the subtlety and translucency of wash tone. They have usually been preceded by some period of travel, and in this are part of the great topographical tradition in British art.’
The China Series 1980
Procktor was the first modern European artist to visit China in 1980 since the Cultural Revolution. He had long been fascinated by the Chinese scrolls in the British Museum and the pervasive influence of Oriental Art, and by inviting appropriate London diplomats to a one-day exhibition of his work, secured the permit to travel freely in China with a guide and a driver. Leaving England in February 1980 he spent a month in Hong Kong, and then went on to mainland China for 8 weeks. His search for the picturesque landscape took him to Gwangzhou (formerly Canton), Guilin (formerly Kweilin, notable for its dramatic backcloth of conical limestone mountains), Hangchow, Soochow (best remaining Chinese gardens), Wushi, Nanking and Peking.
The trip produced fifty-nine watercolours, from which twelve aquatints were made, eight of which were selected for publication. The remaining four prints - Longevity, Horned Beast, Fallen Turtle and Peking Opera were abandoned, though the latter was published separately by the Sunday Telegraph Magazine. All the Chinese water-colours and aquatints were exhibited for the first time at The Redfern Gallery in November 1980.
Patrick Procktor Prints 1959 – 1985, Tessa Sidey, 1985