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F.L.Griggs (1876-1938) - The Architecture of Dreams

This May we are pleased to offer you one of the finest collections of works by F.L.Griggs to come to the market for some 20 years. The exhibition includes over 30 prints and drawings by this master of English visionary art. A particular highlight is his 'Watercolour Record', a unique volume of 44 pencil drawings.

About the Artist

While Griggs trained initially as an architect in the Arts & Crafts tradition under C. E. Mallows, it is as a draughtsman and printer-maker that he is best known. His unsurpassed contemporary reputation as an etcher was acknowledged by his election to the Royal Academy in 1931. Demonstrating an equal mastery of meticulous architectural detail and poetic effects of light and atmosphere, he created images of compelling visionary intensity. Griggs’s artistic career was assured in 1901 by a commission from Macmillan to illustrate their guidebook series Highways and Byways. Beginning with his native Hertfordshire, he completed eleven further volumes, among them that devoted to Oxford and the Cotswolds. Places that he originally encountered as an illustrator often subsequently provided him with inspiration for his own topographical and imaginative work. Griggs’s experiments with etching began in 1895 but it was not until 1912, the year of his conversion to Roman Catholicism, that he created his first mature works in the medium. Thereafter, it remained his primary means of artistic expression. His profound faith reinforced his deep-seated love of the countryside and medieval architecture.

He increasingly lamented England’s lost identity as a result of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth, and the modern dissolution of community, accelerated by the horrors of the First World War, of the twentieth. Writing to his friend, the poet Russell Alexander on 20 September 1911 he proclaimed, ‘Damn everything & especially change’. Yet his work offered refuge, resisting change by reforming the past through imagination and memory. With consummate technical skill Griggs subjected his etching plates to successive revisions, infusing his favoured motifs – the church, the farm, the street, and the bridge – with spiritual significance and invitations to pilgrimage. In this he drew not only upon his intensely personal response to the natural world and English history, but upon the Romantic tradition, especially the example of Samuel Palmer. Indeed, through the V&A’s 1926 Palmer exhibition, Griggs was instrumental in introducing Palmer to a new generation of artists, among them Graham Sutherland, whom Griggs instructed in printmaking.

Prices start at £250

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Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), ‘Epiphany’, Etching with the original Copper Plate, 1919.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'Ex Anglia Perdita', Etching, 1921.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'Linn Bridge', Etching, 1922.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'St Wendred's March, Etching, 1922.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'Laneham', Etching, 1923.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'The Minster', Etching, 1924.
GRIGGS, F.L. (1876-1938), 'THE FORD' ETCHING, 1924.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'Castor', Etching, 1927.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), The Maypole Inn', Etching, 1929.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938) 'St. Mary's Nottingham', Etching, 1929.
GRIGGS, F.L. (1876-1938), 'TATTERSHALL', ETCHING, 1930.
Griggs, F.L. (1876-1938), 'Tattershall', etching, 1930.
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