Gordon House (Welsh 1932 - 2005)

Item Code: P174
'Mumbles Ponardawe Penrhos, Skirrid'; etching with aquatint
  • British
  • c.1980s

'Mumbles Ponardawe Penrhos, Skirrid' 1984; etching with aquatint printed in colours, signed, titled, dated '84 and numbered 27/30 in pencil. Printed at Kelpra Studio, London.

Gordon House was born in Pontardawe, South Wales. Early exposure to art on trips to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery as a young boy inspired him to study art and at the age of fourteen he was awarded a grant to enter art school. From 1947 to 1950 he studied at Luton School of Art, Bedfordshire, and St. Albans School of Art, Hertfordshire. During the early fifties, after finishing art school, House began work as assistant to the ecclesiastical sculptor Theodore Kern. He also spent time at an advertising studio where he honed his skills in typography and graphic design. In 1952 House was offered the position of designer for Imperial Chemical Industries Plastics Division where he stayed until 1959. This was followed by two years spent as graphic designer for the Kynoch Press in London. In 1961 House set out on his own as a self-employed designer and typographer.

In 1961 House began producing his first prints at the Kelpra Studio where he made the earliest fine art screenprint ever to be produced in Britain. Artists such as Paolozzi and Hamilton followed in his footsteps and together they started a printmaking revolution in Britain. They cemented the medium of the screenprint in the world of fine art as opposed to the commercial sphere and secured the reputation of Kelpra in the process. Later, together with Cliff White, House set up the White Ink print studio in London, where he produced etchings and wood engravings on a series of magnificent antique printing presses he had collected. White Ink soon gained a reputation for innovative and high quality printmaking, attracting artists such as R. B. Kitaj, Richard Smith, Joe Tilson, Sidney Nolan, Victor Pasmore, Eduardo Paolozzi, Bernard Cohen and Elizabeth Frink.

One of ten etchings, Gordon House wrote of this series in his catalogue 'Gordon House Editions 1982-1996': 'On leaving the valley of my origin there has always been that pull to return. To be brought up within such a valley, embraced on two sides by the walls of ragged hills, moulds the mind with such containment almost to the point of lost comfort and satisfaction. Visually the village is as was, totally enclosed, the way out hidden but known, although on leaving is restricted to the left or right, only to find yet other self-contained places. Once outside in the big cities the new world became absorbingly paramount but the memory lingers to remain. As everywhere in nostalgia a physical return proves impossible as all has vanished from childhood days. The valley is its other time and another place - what was experienced then was a period of differing needs when the black valley floor was, as most of South Wales, a manufacturing glow of metal, ingot into tinplate. Full time working peoples with their own production goals. This manual effort, with its richness of localised community, has long passed, happy as they seemed, no longer wanted and regarding the living standards of those working classes as no longer to be tolerated. The set of ten etchings embraces some personal memory interpreted in ways of routes outside that early restricted haven.'


Image size: Height: 29.5 x Width: 29.5cm;
Sheet size: Height: 40cm x Width: 51cm;
Framed size: Height: 57cm x Width: 56cm

Gordon House (Welsh 1932 - 2005) Gordon House (Welsh 1932 - 2005) Gordon House (Welsh 1932 - 2005) Gordon House (Welsh 1932 - 2005)
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