Spanish Journey: Part II Sanlúcar Bodegas

On the left, is a page from my sketchbook. On the right, is the etching that I made from it – one of a number that I made of the bodegas in the Sherry Triangle.

Hidalgo bodega 1 72
Argüeso Bodega ‘San Leone’ (etching) ©Henry Hagger
Argueso bodega'San Leone' sketch 72dpi
Argüeso Bodega ‘San Leone’ (a sketch) ©Henry Hagger

Below are seven development stages of an etching of another bodega.

All bodegas are dark, all the windows are small and are covered with a woven straw mat. The idea is to keep out the light. The etching plate initially does not show this darkness. Proof no. 2 is shown with a blue tint (I mention this, just so you can work out the order). The remainder have been proofed in black ink.

After each proof is taken off the press, the plate is assessed and might receive further work before placing it back in the acid bath and inking up for the next proof.

This process continues – in this case, seven times – until the artist is satisfied with the result. Further proofs may be taken from the final ‘state’, to assess the result of using different inks and/or papers.

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Here is another page from my sketchbook 

Sanlucar bodegas sketch 72dpi
Sanlúcar, Spain ©Henry Hagger

and the hand-coloured etching which developed from it.

Sanlucar bodegas hand-coloured etching and aquatint 300dpi £220
Sanlúcar, Spain ©Henry Hagger

©Henry Hagger 2018

Spanish Journey: Part I Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Sanlúcar café © Henry Hagger
Sanlúcar Café ©Henry Hagger

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a seaside town on the Southern coast of Spain. The majority of visitors are Spaniards and the town retains its workaday character. A major industry here is the production of Manzanilla, a dry fino sherry. Its maturation in the damp bodegas of Sanlúcar de Barrameda gives it a slightly salty tang and distinguishes it from the finos of El Puerto Santa María and Jerez.

Although I was on the coast, there was little in the way of cooling breezes, and my choice of a traditional hotel – complete with an internal courtyard and a well for water – was thus, ill founded, especially as it was August. For the first few days, I raced around the town making sketches and taking photos. I thought that the long Siesta was for wimps. ¡Pero no! As Noel Coward used to sing: ‘…mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day Sun’. I found out the hard way why the locals keep to the shade and rest after lunch.

On my wanderings around the town, I came across the sherry makers Messrs Barbadillo and after a time of watching the coopers (toneleros) at work in their yard, I was invited in for a closer look. One man in particular was keen to show me the different tasks and tools involved in creating a butt. Subsequently, I made a series of etchings of this man’s skills.


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One morning, I called Sr Hidalgo out of the blue. On hearing that I was in Sanlúcar, he invited me to visit him immediately and took me personally to some of the Hidalgo bodegas. I made an etching of him wielding the venencia, which is the long ladle-like tool used to extract samples of the sherry from below the level of the flor in the butt. Spanish journey part 2 Sr Javier Hidalgo 12x7.5 cm soft ground, aquatintThere is nothing quite like tasting sherry straight from the butt. Recently, the producers have marketed Sherry en rama, which tries to replicate this taste experience by bottling without filtration and sterilisation.

Sr Hidalgo’s assistant, Tim, was kind enough to demonstrate the use of the jarra, the traditional implement used to transfer wine from one solera to the next.

Spanish journey part 2 Tim using the Jarra in Hidalgo's Bodega soft ground 12 x 8.5 cmThe high point of the year in Sanlúcar is the annual horse racing along the beach. Sr Javier Hidalgo loves to compete in these races. He is also a keen ornithologist and donates to a local wildlife fund from the sales of his best sherry (with a bird on the label).

My reason for being in the ‘sherry triangle’ (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa María) was to carry out an illustration commission for The Wine Society (examples from Barbadillo and from Hidalgo are in their current list). In addition to vignettes to illustrate their List, they also wanted a view of the restaurants along the Sanlúcar seafront for the cover. My illustration employs a degree of artistic licence, grouping together the best buildings and showing holiday diners in full flow.

Sanlucar Seafront Cover RGBLow
Sanlúcar Seafront (watercolour) ©Henry Hagger


©Henry Hagger 2018

The Nuns from Jerez to Gloucester

The Nun and the Novice ©Henry Hagger

Walking past my local park one misty morning, I was struck by the beautiful shafts of light shining between the trees. It inspired me to use this effect in the Gloucester Cloisters print. I also wanted to include some figures, and what could be more appropriate than nuns.

I had made this print of a nun and a novice some years ago, after visiting Jerez on a commission. So, both the nuns and the atmospheric lighting in the image are pure artistic licence.

Another product of my Jerez visit was the soft-ground etching of Puente Nuevo de Ronda — one of a number of my prints of this famous viaduct in Ronda, Spain.

See Gallery.
All images on this website are copyright material.

Reproducing, copying or using them in any form, including electronic media, without the permission of the artist is an infringement of copyright.

All artwork ©Henry Hagger

©Henry Hagger 2018

Puente Nuevo de Ronda – soft ground etching

I thought that it would be nice to start this blog with a brief explanation of one aspect of printmaking.

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The terms Intaglio means that the ‘image’ is incised, engraved, or etched into a substrate — normally a metal plate. Etching creates an image below the surface of the plate by using acid to ‘bite’ into the metal, eroding its surface. The technique of etching metal with acid was first used in the decoration of the arms and armour of Mediaeval kings and princes. The Wallace Collection, London has some fine examples.

The depth and character of penetration of the surface is controlled by protecting the areas of the plate you do not want etched by using ‘grounds’ of wax or varnish. The examples in the slideshow use the technique ‘soft ground’ where the plate is covered in a soft wax which is imprinted into by drawing through a sheet of paper placed on top of wax-coated metal plate. Also, in this case, I added stippling, before immersing the plate in acid. Note that the drawing is done in reverse.

It also uses a technique called spit-bite where the plate is not immersed but the acid is applied directly to the plate in controlled areas. The term spit-bite originates from the era when printers used spit to control the flow of acid over the plate. I also used the scraper burnisher to refine this image.

The acid bites into any unprotected areas of metal and forms indentations in the plate. Ink is spread onto the plate and pushed down into these indentations with a squeegee. The plate is then selectively wiped with an open-textured tarlatan cloth to remove ink from the plate’s surface. It may be given a final polish with tissue paper or the side of the hand.

When wiping is complete, the plate is placed on the press bed with a sheet of dampened cotton fibre paper placed over it. After running through the press, the damp print is lifted from the plate, inspected and, wrapped in tissue paper, dried between two boards to keep it flat.

Guided by this proof, the artist will make adjustments to the plate. This can be done by ‘stopping- out’ areas with varnish before further immersion in acid and/or scraping and burnishing with a tool. At each adjustment, the artist will take a proof until satisfied with the plate.

This final version will be labelled BAT (Bon à Tirer) which means ‘good to print’. This will be the example to follow for an edition of prints. Although the editioned prints will be similar, they will not be identical because each print will be inked, wiped and printed by hand. Thus each and every print will be a unique work of art.

Here is the final version (Stage 6).


Puente Nuevo de Ronda        ©Henry Hagger

See Gallery.

All images on this website are copyright material.

Reproducing, copying or using them in any form, including electronic media, without the permission of the artist is an infringement of copyright.

All artwork ©Henry Hagger

©Henry Hagger 2018

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017

artwork_44700_1_fullSunlit Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral by Henry Hagger was shown at the Royal Academy of Art’s Summer Exhibition 2017 in London.

Intaglio gravure, edition of 90.

For further details, see Link

All images on this website are copyright material.

Reproducing, copying or using them in any form, including electronic media, without the permission of the artist is an infringement of copyright.

All artwork © copyright Henry Hagger

Society of Artists in Architecture Autumn Exhibition

Society of Artists in Architecture Autumn Exhibition

held at the

Framers Gallery
36 Windmill Street,
London, W1T 2JT

15–25 November 2017

Here is a list of my works which were exhibited:

S. Giorgio Maggiore — hand-coloured lithograph

Before the World was Changed — acrylic

No Pub like an Old Pub (A Quiet Pint) — intaglio gravure

Puente Nuevo de Ronda — etching

Old New York — acrylic

Yellow Field I and Yellow Field II — colour etchings

The Cobb at Lyme — hand-coloured etching

Stowe Snow — photograph

Sanlucar Bodega — hand-coloured etching and aquatint

To view the works, see the Gallery.
All images on this website are copyright material.

Reproducing, copying or using them in any form, including electronic media, without the permission of the artist is an infringement of copyright.

All artwork ©Henry Hagger

©Henry Hagger 2018