THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Etching exhibition in city art gallery will ‘stimulate critical faculties’

From the News Letter, June 17, 1924

Donegall Square West, Belfast
Donegall Square West, Belfast

The art gallery of Mr John Magee which was located on Donegall Square West in Belfast was the sitting of an ongoing exhibition of “a fine collection” etchings, reported the News Letter on this day in 1924.

The News Letter declared: “Those interested in this form of art will see much that should appeal to their aesthetic taste and stimulate their critical faculties to a keener perception of the merits, alas! all too little appreciated in this part of the world, of the particular type of artistic expression so comprehensively represented by the exhibition.”

Among the works on view in Belfast were etchings by several men who “stand high in the world of art,” declared the News Letter. Sir Frank Short, RA, the president of the Painters’ and Etchers’ Society was represented by a number of “delightful” etchings and his mezzotint Moonlight on the Bure was “irresistible in its appeal”.

The News Letter noted of the painting: “The tints are subtle and delicate, and the moonlight effect very real and charming. The picture has, indeed, all the charm and strength of a watercolour drawing.”

Meanwhile, sunshine and shower and a stiff spring breeze was suggested in another etching of Sir Frank Short’s called April Day in Kent with its windmill in the foreground and a quaint old world village beyond.

The News Letter remarked: “It is a pleasing study and the draughtsmanship almost perfect.”

But if there was one picture which was worth seeing, noted the News Letter, it was When Winter Wanes by William Jones, “one of the leaders in the colour print movement and editor of The Original Colour Print Magazine”.

The News Letter remarked of the picture: “The colouring is exquisite, particularly the rich blue of the peacocks in the foreground and the green of the sward upon which they strut.”

Other highlights in the exhibition were “a half dozen” wood cuts by Lady Mabel Annesley which the News Letter described as “very interesting”.

It was noted of the wood cuts that: “The outlines are clear and sharply defined, and a remarkable wealth of detail has been cleverly worked in.”