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Kenneth Holmes, A.R.C.A. 1902-1994.

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Etchings, Drypoints and Etching Plates.

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Town Hall Steps Skipton, Yorkshire. 1929. Drypoint. 7 1/2x 10 (sheet 11 7/16 x 15 7/16). Published by James Connell in an edition of sixty proofs only. A very rich impression printed on cream laid paper with full margins. Illustrated: Fine Prints of the Year, 1929. Signed in reverse in the plate, lower left; also humorously signed on the advertising sign to the right of the telephone booth on the corner. Signed in pencil. Sold with the copper etching plate, 7 5/8 x 10 1/16. The image on the plate is reversed in the etching when the etching is printed. $975 the pair.

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Going to the Fields. 1928. Copper etching plate for the drypoint. 7 x 10. $300.

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Painter, printmaker, writer, designer and teacher. Kenneth Holmes OBE ARCA (1906 - 1994). Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, where his father was a foreman in a sewing cotton manufacture factory, Kenneth Holmes was educated at the Erymsteds Boys’ Grammar School, Skipton to 1919. This was followed by two years at the Skipton School of Art, 1919-21, and a further two years at the Leeds College of Art, 1921-23. From there he went to the Royal College of Art, London, studying there from 1923-27 and taking additional courses at both the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He graduated from the Royal College in 1927 with its Art Masters’ Certificate (1923), the ARCA in Design and ARCA in Engraving, both in 1926, and a Teaching and School Management Certificate (1927).

From his days at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s Holmes had been recognised as a significant artist. He worked in several media: above all in etching, though also in wood engraving, line engraving, aquatint, mezzotint, drawing and watercolour, the subjects being mainly landscapes, townscapes and architecture, with Italy and England as particular favourites. (In recent years a number of oil paintings of mainly Cornish landscapes and the coast, apparently painted for his own enjoyment and recreation, have also come onto the market, and these show that he was also a significant artist following the Newlyn School tradition as well). During his 1927-28 period studying in Italy he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome for his drypoint etching The Flight into Egypt. This was followed by very many exhibitions and sales, including over the years 16 one man exhibitions in London, one each in Glasgow and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, a number in Leicester, while over the years he had many works accepted for group exhibitions and salons, including 11 in the Royal Academy annual exhibitions, and 6 in those of the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, and in an exhibition of War Artists held in the National Gallery, London.

He also travelled widely abroad, most notably in the United States, where his watercolours, drawings and etchings, especially of American subjects, including the Niagara Falls and the deserts of Utah, are particularly sought after and appreciated. His work is represented in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American Art, Washington, and the collections of the Art Museums of Harvard, the National Gallery of Canada, and of important art museums in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Australia. In the UK there are groups of works or collections in the Craven Museum, Skipton, and the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, and Holmes is also represented in several other British collections including the Tate Gallery, London. Kenneth Holmes retired after 22 years as Principal of the Leicester College of Art in 1956, and after moving to Cornwall where he continued to practice and exhibit as an artist. He died in Camelford, Cornwall, in September 1994.

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Allinson Gallery Index.

British Fine Prints.


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