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This exhibition explores the rise of lithography during the mid-1900s.

In 1950, the artist Michael Rothenstein wrote to the Arts Council from his home in Great Bardfield, Essex. He wanted money to help publish prints celebrating the Festival of Britain in 1951, close to his home and his near-neighbours John Aldridge, Edward Bawden and Kenneth Rowntree. However, Philip James at the Arts Council refused. James feared there were too many prints being published and the country was suffering an outbreak of ‘lithograph fever’.

The fifteen years after 1945 are now seen as a lean time for British printmaking. Yet contemporaries such as James saw the reverse. In particular, colour lithography became a fashionable and respected medium. Some believed cheap lithographs were a way to bring art to the people. Others felt lithography was simply well suited to modern tastes for colour and bold technique.

This exhibition recaptures something of the excitement of lithography in those years, and shows the artists of North West Essex as central to this national phenomenon.

This exhibitions is sponsored by Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers.

Prints & drawingsEast AngliaArt gallery

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