A Street in Ventnor, Isle of Wight



Theodore Roussel (1847-1926), A Street in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, etching, soft ground etching, drypoint, 1912, signed in pencil on the tab and inscribed “imp” (printed by the artist) [also signed in the plate lower left]. Reference: Hausberg 102, third state (of 3), from group of about 30 impressions in this state, 37 overall;  in excellent condition, trimmed by the artist outside of the platemark except for the signature tab, 4 x 2 3/4 inches.

A fine impression, printed with tone.

Roussel visited the Isle of Wight in the summer of 1912, filling two sketchbooks with drawings; based on the dating of the drawings and an early proof of “A Street in Ventnor” he probably made the etching from the sketches and memory after the summer trip.

Roussel was of course a Whistler student and acolyte, as evidenced by his approach toward printmaking as well as the reverential trimming of the impression and use of the signature tab. Roussel was born in Brittany, studied in Paris, but settled in Britain. A painter, he began printmaking at about the age of 40. Beyond his fame as one of the most talented of the Whistlerians, he also gained notoriety for inventing a series of printmaking techniques and approaches, including the invention of an inking method known as the “Roussel medium”, several color etchings, and occasional etching of frames and mounts.  A Street of Ventnor is interesting insofar as Roussel appears to have used a soft ground technique to create an impressionistic portrait of the thoroughfare.