Nicholson, William (1872-1949), 'Bluecoat Boy (Newgate Street), 1898.

'Bluecoat Boy (Newgate Street), 1898.

Wood Engraving, hand coloured by the artist. One of less than 40 impressions from the deluxe edition of 'London Types'. Signed in ink.

'So went our boys when EDWARD SIXTH, the King,

Chartered CHRIST'S HOSPITAL, and died. And so

Full fifteen generations in a string

Of heirs to his bequest have had to go.


And RICHARDSON, that bade our LOVELACE be;

The little ELIA thus in NEWGATE STREET;

Thus to his GENEVIEVE young S.T.C.

With thousands else that, wandering up and down,

Quaint, privileged, liked and reputed well,

Made the great School a part of LONDON TOWN

Patent as PAUL's and vital as BOW BELL:

The old School nearing exile, day by day,

To certain clay-lands somewhere HORSHAM way.'

-Verse written by W.E.Henley
Reference: Colin Campbell 53A.

London Types, 1898

At the end of the century there was a ‘vogue for all things to do with London and Londoners’. London was celebrated in numerous histories and collections of verse and prose dedicated to the city as well as pictures in illustrated newspapers of the day. Thus Nicholson’s decision to do a series of cuts of London Types was certainly welcomed.

William Nicholson cut thirteen designs for London Types: a Bus Driver, Guardsman, Hawker, Beef-eater, Sandwich-man, Coster, Lady, Bluecoat Boy, Policeman, Newsboy, Drum-Major, Flower Girl, and Barmaid. The prints were each accompanied by a quartorzain by W.E.Henley, publisher of The New Review.

London Types was published in October 1898 in three English editions. The rare Deluxe Edition contained woodcuts printed from the original woodblocks which were hand-coloured by the artist, trimmed to the border, mounted on card, signed in pen and ink on the card, and issued loose in a portfolio. Around 40 sets were printed.

Schwartz believes that these woodcuts done for London Types ‘represent the culmination of Nicholson’s work as a printmaker’.