Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole
Last autumn Dan Thompson contacted me to do a bit of printing for him. He had been given (or maybe loaned) some old half tone plates of William Blake images and he wondered if I might be able to get prints from them. Dan had been told that the plates had originated from Thanet Press sparking both his interest and mine.
We named our day for having a printing session in my studio and began a day, that was meant to be just a morning, getting to grips with these old, rather dirty plates. After a bit of experimenting with inking and pressure and after giving the plates a good clean, we managed to get some great prints and a quick bit of research revealed that Eyre and Spottiswoode (the printers who owned Thanet Press) did publish a book in the 1960’s that included William Blake’s work so we now just need to access a copy to see if the plates originate from this.
Amongst the many objects in my Thanet Press archive is a galley, made by my Dad, John Edwards from pieces of an old copper half tone plate. I had been aware there was an image on the underside of the galley but had been reluctant to dismantle the tray to access the plate. Emboldened by our wonderful day of printing Blake plates I decided to see if I could get an image off the galley plate.
John labelled everything, well most things and was a great lover of Dymo Tape. He had punched his name into the plate, I suppose he didn’t want anyone else taking his galley and I love that his reversed name is now a part of this print.
The image looks like a foundry or somewhere with a furnace but it is highly unlikely I will ever discover who these two men are or where it depicts. From their clothes I would estimate it is from the 1950’s.
Seeing the resulting print for the first time was like discovering treasure and set me on a path of more discoveries.