About Paul Croft
Born 1963, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Croft studied Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, specialising in printmaking and later trained to become a Tamarind Master Printer of Lithography (TMP) at the world-renowned Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. In 2008 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) in London.
Croft is a professional artist, printmaker, lithographer, collaborating printer and educator, based in Aberystwyth, Wales. As Lecturer in Fine Art Printmaking at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University, he teaches printmaking to students at undergraduate, post graduate and PhD levels. His research interests focus upon the technical, social, cultural and historical aspects of printmaking – specifically those relating to traditional, conventional, contemporary and digital techniques of stone and plate lithography.
He has written two books on Stone Lithography (2001) and Plate Lithography (2003) published as part of the A&C Series of Printmaking Handbooks. He has also curated several exhibitions including Stone-Plate-Grease-Water: International Contemporary Lithography (2007-8) and Contemporary Chinese Printmaking: Prints by Artists from Hunan Province (2014-16)
Croft is also a founding member and co-director of Aberystwyth Printmakers, an independent group of printmakers, which has a print workshop providing facilities for etching, relief printing and lithography, located in Brogerddan, about three miles from Aberystwyth town centre.
As an artist, much of his own work comprises of drawing and printmaking, involving stone and plate lithography but increasingly also makes use of woodcut, monotype and stencil printing. Throughout his career this work has predominantly been concerned with the development of personal visual language, which has sought to synthesise motifs from a broad range of observations, still life and found objects, informed in large part by ongoing research into letter forms, characters, alphabets and more recently, by his efforts to learn Mandarin. He has exhibited his work widely throughout Ireland and the UK and internationally at galleries and museums in Japan, USA, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Since qualifying as a Tamarind Master Printer in 1996, his role as a ‘collaborating printer’ has led to a long series of print collaborations with artists from across the UK and beyond. This has included working with notable Welsh artists Mary Lloyd Jones, Shani Rhys Davies, David Tress, Pete Williams, Ian Phillips, Stuart Evans and Becca artist - Peter Davies. He has also worked with London artists Marcelle Hanselaar, Wuon Gean Ho, Anne Desmet and Professor Jin Bao Ping from Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.
Collaboration in Practice: British Lithography 1800 – 2022
Collaboration in Practice: British Lithography 1800 – 2022
Since its invention by Alois Senefelder in 1798, lithography has always been perceived as the most difficult printmaking process to master. The technical skill required by complexity of printing from stone, has thus not surprisingly, required some measure of collaboration between an artist and a printer.
Inspired by lithographs from Aberystwyth University School of Art Museum and Galleries Collection, in this book, Croft traces the history of British Lithography, focusing through the lens of that collaboration between artist and printer. The first collaboration of this sort in Britain took place in 1801, between Philipp André, trained by Senefelder, and artists from the Royal Academy in London, published as Specimens of Polyautography, comprising pen and ink drawings printed from lithographic stone.
In the following two hundred years significant pairings of artists and printers have contributed to the technical and aesthetic development of lithography into a sophisticated process capable of rendering chalk and wash drawing and a full range of tone and colour. Such pairings of printer and artist have included D J Redman with the artist Thomas Barker of Bath; Charles Hullmandel and James Duffield Harding, Louis Haghe and David Roberts; Thomas Way and his son Thomas Robert Way with James Abbott McNeil Whistler.
By the second half of the twentieth century, fine art lithography became detached from commercial chromolithography with the establishment of collaborative practice based on the Parisian ‘atelier’ model, by such presses as Miller’s Press in 1945, Harley’s in Edinburgh in the 1950s and Stanley Jones at the Curwen Studio in 1958. Significantly, Stanley Jones has been at the centre of a seismic transformation in contemporary fine art lithography and has worked with nearly every post-war British artist working in the medium, including Barbara Hepworth, Terry Frost, Ceri Richards, John Piper, Henry Moore and Paula Rego.
Contemporary studios offering professional collaboration and editioning services for artists, such as Edinburgh Printmakers, Hole Editions, Paupers Press, Redbreast Editions, Oaks Park Studio and Lemonade Press, are thus indebted to the legacy of Jones at the Curwen Studio. They have also benefitted from the training of collaborative printers at the Tamarind Institute, who have since set up studios or teach at colleges across Britain. Research into and the development of lithographic practice has not been confined to Britain, and much is owed to the research undertaken at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque during the last sixty years.
Recently, the Heritage Crafts Association listed ‘stone lithography’ as endangered, so it has been somewhat prescient to have the book published by Aberystwyth School of Art Press to coincide with an extensive exhibition of British Lithography (Aberystwyth School of Art 24 October 2022 – 27 January 2023) which subsequently toured to the Bankside Gallery in London, Oriel Davies in Newtown and is back here again in Aberystwyth until the end of August.
The book is 285mm x 235mm, 160 pages and illustrated throughout with lithographs from Aberystwyth University School of Art Museum & Gallery Collections. Layout design: Isobel Gillan. Printed in a limited edition of 500 copies by Gomer Press Llandysul ISBN 978 1 7391167 1 2
For further information see: http://www.paulcroft.org/british-lithography-2.html
Copies available by mail order at £25.00 – contact Paul Croft.