Hastings: Dawn and Dusk

Here are two sides of Hastings: the fishing community at Rock-a-Nore and the trippers on the sands.

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Dawn is printed from a steel plate and uses the techniques of soft ground, aquatint, spit-bite, scraping, burnishing and dry-point.

As you can see, it went through several transformations, most notably at State 5 when there were five separate stoppings-out. After each stopping-out, the plate is placed back in the acid for a predetermined time. The time for each biting is different and the effect is cumulative. You can also see the effect of different wiping of the same state in images 3, 3a and 3b.

There is much scraping-out on this plate, which is a difficult job because steel is much harder than zinc. Steel, however, is better for colours, especially yellows, which, when wiped on zinc plates often take on a greenish hue.

In State 7, I have experimented with colour. These prints are monoprints (sometimes referred to as V.E. or varied edition), that is, they are variations printed from the same matrix: each one is unique.

Hastings state 6 monoprint 1 plate wiped in black and rolled in yellow 72dp
VE 1  © Henry Hagger
Hastings state 6 monoprint 2 plate wiped in Umber and rolled in yellow72dpi
VE 2 © Henry Hagger
Hastings state 6 monoprint 3 plate wiped in black and rolled in yellow 72dpi
VE 3 © Henry Hagger
Hastings state 6 monoprint 4 wiped in black with orange roll 72dpi
VE 4 © Henry Hagger
Hastings state 6 monoprint 5 wiped in black with pale orange roll 72dpi
VE 5 © Henry Hagger

I used a different technique to the à la poupée that I showed you in Spanish Journey: Part IV: Ronda and Madrid. Here the dark ink is wiped into the intaglio and the lighter colour, which may be modified to alter its consistency or viscosity, is applied over the plate with a roller. Thus, when printed, the dark ink is the top layer.

I was particularly attracted by the foremost boat, RX55. Clinker-built boats have such graceful lines and, in the round, are beautifully crafted sculpture.

There is no harbour at Hastings and the fishing boats are pulled up onto the beach by a big tractor. Boats are registered at the nearby port of Rye, hence the RX numbers on their prow.

Old tales, young dreams, intaglio gravure, 300 dpi RSMA 2014, SocAA2017 , Discerning Eye 2016
Old Tales, Young Dreams © Henry Hagger

The Dusk plate is intaglio gravure wiped in a blue/black blend to give an impression of the sea at dusk.

A father and his children sit on the shingle, with the Hastings Pier in the background. He appears to be telling a tale to his daughter, while his son, who has heard all the tales before, looks away and dreams of what he will do when he grows up. Old Tales, Young Dreams.

I was fascinated by the silhouette of the Pier seen against the sparkling light on the sea, and engaged by the domestic scene in the foreground.

©Henry Hagger 2018

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