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The Cyder Feast the-cyder-feast.jpg

The Cyder Feast

Item Code: EC-70431
Medium
Wood engraving
Date of Work
1828 / 1904
Edition Size
30
Signed
Unsigned
Height (cm)
7.5
Width (cm)
13
Suite
The Carfax Portfolio
From The Carfax Portfolio 1904.

This engraving is full of contrasts. It is bathed in the light of the great harvest moon. In spite of the absence of colour, one can well imagine the blue, purple and yellow contrasts of this rich night in late summer, with its pungent smell of crushed apples, its hint of approaching autumn.
Edward Calvert PortraitCalvert, born in 1799, began life with a brief stint in the Navy before the death of a close friend during a bombardment of Algiers prompted him to leave and follow a less promising career as a painter and printmaker. Early technical encouragement came by way of the Royal Academy, where Calvert was admitted in 1825, but it was a subsequent friendship with the younger Samuel Palmer, who would introduce Calvert to Blake and his mystic circle of companions, that proved instrumental to his artistic development.

Time spent with the Ancients was, for Calvert, illuminating and inspirational, their meetings in Palmer’s cottage - ‘Rat Alley’, as it was affectionately known - involving discussions of poetry, printing technique and deeper spiritual musings. The elder Blake, whom Palmer described as a ‘prophet’ and a ‘man without a mask’, impressed upon Calvert and the group an ardent religious appreciation for Nature and the earth, as well as instructing the young artist in the process of wood-engraving and the visionary artistic style.

Calvert’s work after Blake’s death immediately matured, as if the loss of such an inspirational figure had spurred him on to greater heights. The period that followed from 1827 to 1831 is universally considered to have been Calvert’s pinnacle, comprising wood and copper engravings and lithographs all characterised by fine, dextrous lines depicting sylvan vistas - imagery redolent of both classical pastoral scenes and symbolic Christian parables.
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