NASH, Paul

Paul Nash set of wood engravings each signed and numbered by artist. Edition size of 9 copies only.



Paul Nash a rare set of five original signed and numbered wood engravings originally cut as illustrations for ‘Cotswold Characters,’ which was published in 1921. The five wood engravings are printed on wove and three are numbered 6/ 9 in the top right corner, the other two are ‘Proofs’. All five are signed and dated 1921.

Simon Rodd, the fisherman’, Joe Pentifer and Son and ‘Rufus Clay, the Foreigner’ are all numbered 6 of an edition of 9; ‘Pony, the Footballer’ and ‘Thesigner Crowne, the Mason’ are both marked ‘Proof’s’. Paul Nash signature is slightly different between the numbered and the ‘Proof’ editions, indicating that they were signed at different times.

Each wood engraving is tipped onto the backing board with minimal tape and window mounted in a brown card with a ‘William Weston’ label on verso indicating the provenance.

Each image size 75 x 75mm (3 x 3 inches)

All Sheet sizes 180 x 110mm (7 x 4.25 inches)

All wood engravings are displayed in one multi aperture brown mount size 420 x 595mm

Item details

The complete set of 5 wood engravings rarely come up on the open market. Having looked through ‘Art Price Auction Records’ , ‘Pony, the Footballer’ has come at auction 4 times and ‘Joe Pentifer and Son’, Thesigner Crowne, the Mason and ‘Rufus Clay, the Foreigner’ have only been up for sale once since 1986 when records began.Therefore Scarce.



Postan The Complete Graphic Work of Paul Nash – W14, W15, W16, W17, W18;

Dodgson The Print Collector’s Quarterly (Volume 15) – 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

Postan ‘Notes on Catalogue‘: ‘Nash numbered most of his graphic work himself, although many of his prints bear misleading and incorrect edition numbers, the author has attempted to define the real edition size. In all cases stage proofs exist or have existed, often signed and inscribed. In view of their rarity and similarity to the issued editions,the author has not defined stage ‘proofs’ as separate states, as Nash always inscribed any stage proof ‘1st proof’, ‘3rd proof’ etc., thus rendering the identity of any proof that has escaped the inspection of the author clear to any student or owner. Final state proofs outside the edition are common and invariably inscribed ‘proof’.


Quote from:  ‘Paul Nash. Designer and Illustrator’  [page 51]  by James King 

‘ Drinkwater was ‘ keen to capture the character of the ‘Cotswold Yeoman’. In this spirit , he strayed ‘a moment a little outside the usual habit of my work…. and set down in prose a few of his characteristics’. Each short narrative focuses on a special moment in the lives of these men. Rufus Clay is deemed by locals a foreigner because he was born in a village seventeen miles away, when he drowns in a lock attempting to save his retriever, Thesiger Crowne proclaims: ‘a bad job that..these foreigners do never learn their way about’.

Pony is another outsider. A young intellectually challenged man, he vexed every villager with whom he came into contact. He wanted to be a footballer, but he was excluded. Then one day, when a player is needed by the town’s team, he is called into service. He fumbles at first and then almost occidentally kicks the ball into the net. pony ‘was carried round the field, the team singing behind him that he was a jolly good fellow… His glory did not come agaIN. IN FACT it was forgotten in a week by all but himself.’

in its review ‘Westminster Gazette’ bestowed little praise: the five sketches were ‘as arranged, as theatrical, and as unreal as Mr. Nash’s clever woodcuts…. they are pleasant, effective pieces, but quite untrue to English life. ‘ the most successful one is that of Pony, as Joanna Selborne observes ‘the diagonal stretching action of the player across the goal post has a Vorticist feel’. Nash tended to stay away from portraiture-only two of the five wood engravings depict faces in any detail, [Thesiger Crowne and Joe Pentifer] but he captures their personalities of both men:the former is, as Drinkwater states , handsome, stout, tall and dandy; Pentifer had a ‘long stormy beard, and his thick hair…. not so much white-seeming, as bleached by many winds, made him a figure such as Blake might have added to his visionary portraits.


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