Nicholson, William (1872-1949), 'Policeman (Constitution Hill), 1898.

'Policeman (Constitution Hill), 1898.

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

'Army Reserve; a worshipper of BOBS,

With whom he stripped the smock from CANDAHAR;
Neat as his mount, that neatest among cobs;

Whenever pageants pass, or meetings are

He moves conspicuous, vigilant, severe,

With his Light Cavalry hand and seat and look,

A living type of Order, in whose sphere

Is room for neither hooligan nor hook.

For in his shadow, wheresoe'er he ride,

Paces, all eye and hardihood and grip,

The dreaded Crusher, Might in his every stride

And Right materialized girt at his hip.

And they, that shake to see these twain go by,

Feel that the Tec, that plain-clothes Terror, is nigh.'

-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’.