Hero's Widow, (the original plate) 1944
Passe-partout (ref: 3990)
Original copper plate, cancelled
9 1/4 x 7 in. (23.5 x 17.5 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 90.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 90, page 134.
The subject of this meticulously handled image is evident in the title - hundreds of thousands of women were widowed during the Second World War. This engraving was made after the publication of Campbell Dodgson’s catalogue on the engraved works of Robert Sargent Austin and has been listed variously under the titles of Woman with Saw, Widow of a Hero and Hero’s Widow – it was under this last title that the plate was issued as the presentation plate of the Print Collectors’ Club at the end of 1944.
An example of the engraving is in the collection of the V&A collection of Prints and Drawings, (accession no. E.523-1952)
We are grateful to Michael Campbell for assistance
Robert Austin (1895-1973)
Printmaker and draughtsman, born in Leicester. He studied at the School of Art there and at the Royal College of Art, 1914-16 and 1919-22, winning the Rome Scholarship for engraving in the latter year. He taught engraving at the Royal College of Art, 1927-44, becoming Professor in the Department of Graphic Design, 1948-55. Showed with RWS, of which he was a member and President; RE, of which he was a member; and the RA, to which he was elected in 1949. Austin was a meticulous craftsman-engraver and a vigorous draughtsman, as his series of drawings of Women's Auxiliary Air Force and ballooning activities done during World War II shows. The Tate Gallery holds his work.
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, organised an exhibition of his work in 1980.
More recently he was the subject of two shows at the Fine Art Society plc (2001 and 2002), the latter organised in conjunction with Liss Fine Art Ltd.
See all works by Robert Austin