Lithographic transfer of the hand-coloured woodcut by William Nicholson.
From the Popular Edition of London Types, published by William Heinemann, 1898.
Image size: 10" x 9".
Generally very good condition throughout.
William Nicholson (1872-1949) achieved recognition for the innovative pictorial posters that he designed in collaboration with his brother-in-law James Pryde, under the name J. & W. Beggarstaff. The vigorous fin de siecle modernity of the Beggarstaff posters makes them the English counterpart to the graphic work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Paris.
Nicholson subsequently developed this striking graphic style, with its use of strong outlines and bold masses of black, for a series of illustrated books published by William Heinemann at the end of the nineteenth century. London Types was the third volume in the series, following An Alphabet (1897, post-dated 1898) and the Almanac of Twelve Sports (1897, post-dated 1898)
Heinemann wrote to Nicholson in December 1897 to outline the terms of the commission for London Types: ‘With regard to the price, I agree to pay you ten guineas for each block and for the cover; and three guineas for a complete set of hand-coloured copies.’ The hand coloured sets were for the edition de luxe, limited to 40 sets for Great Britain and the United States of America and priced at £21 or $45. The illustrations were accompanied by verses (quatorzains) by the poet and critic W. E. Henley, after Rudyard Kipling had declined the invitation.
First published in November 1898, the Popular edition of London Types had to be reprinted almost immediately, with a second edition advertised in December. The fascination with London types is perennial and innumerable depictions of Street Cries, both popular and pretentious, have appeared over the centuries.
Contemporary real-life versions of several of Nicholson’s Types survive today on the streets of the metropolis, and others have their near-equivalent in our unromantic London of 2015. Even, unbelievably, the Coster’s moke - as a donkey and trap can still occasionally be seen- and heard - clip-clopping around the environs of Deptford Park. Sadly, however, none of the modern Types are anywhere near as nattily dressed as they were in 1898.
Each of Nicholson’s Types is associated with a particular London location. The complete set of twelve comprises: Guardsman (The Horse Guards), Hawker (Kensington), Beef-eater (The Tower), Sandwich-Man (Trafalgar Square), Coster (Hammersmith), Lady (Rotten Row), Bluecoat Boy (Newgate Street), Policeman (Constitution Hill), News-Boy (The City), Drum-Major (Wimbledon Common), Flower Girl (Any Corner), Barmaid (Any Bar).
A rare opportunity to acquire a complete set of twelve London Types.
Another, unframed, unmounted copy available for £95.00