John Edgar Platt: Master of the Colour Woodcut


softback / 72pp
200 x 200mm
ISBN: 978-1-911408-30-7

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John Edgar Platt: Master of the Colour Woodblock

Hilary Chapman

  • First in-depth study of Platt’s prints
  • Fully illustrated in colour including variant states of some prints
  • New essays by Hilary Chapman an authority on both the career of Platt and on Japanese woodblock printing

John Edgar Platt was one of the leading lights of 1920s and 1930s printmaking. This is the first book to consider his place in British 20th century printmaking and investigate the influence of Japanese woodblock printing on the output of Platt and his contemporaries. It features colour illustrations of all his printed work and two essays by print expert Hilary Chapman.

A master of the colour woodblock print in the Japanese style, Platt combined eastern technique with a western design sensibility. His use of bold colour inspired one critic to praise the ‘gamut of singing hues’ found in his prints. Fellow colour woodblock artist Allen Seaby acknowledged that ‘There is no doubt that in your hands the wood print has been raised far above its former status’.

The fusion of traditional European subject matter with the Japanese woodblock method enabled Platt to create some of the most original images in British printmaking. He found subjects to inspire him among the harbours and fishing boats of Cornwall and Devon and in warmer climes at St Tropez. During the 1930s he adopted a spare style based on blocks of flat colour to create strikingly modern works including Horse (1934), Lapwings (1936) and his masterpiece the triptych The Plough (1937).


About the author
Hilary Chapman is an art historian and a print dealer specialising in early twentieth-century British prints.  She has published catalogues and monographs on printmakers of this period and exhibited and promoted these artists at the Gallery she ran in Fulham, London for many years. She has contributed regularly to journals such Print Quarterly and Printmaking Today and her most recent publication is a catalogue raisonné of the colour woodcuts of the Japanese artist Yoshijiro Urushibara, who inspired the development of the technique in Britain.