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This is one of a series of eight woodcuts prints made by Baynard at the Tyler workshop over a period from November 1979 to November 1980, two of which are in Tate’s collection (see also A Dark Pot with Roses 1980, Tate P12996). This was the first print project Baynard worked on at Tyler Graphics. When Baynard’s initial discussions with Kenneth Tyler revealed their mutual admiration for Japanese woodblock prints, they decided to work on a series inspired by the Ukiyo-e style. Baynard had for several years been painting watercolour images of flower-filled vases, and used this theme to create a series of watercolour studies specifically to translate into woodcuts. Tracings were made from these studies, and the shapes further defined, before the images were transferred to the blocks.
Baynard chose different woods, including fir, pine, walnut, Russian ply and mahogany, according to the texture and grain he wanted for each block of colour. Baynard’s images are highly stylized and he depicted these flower motifs with a minimum of modeling and shading. In this print, he used the direction of the wood grain and contrasting flat and blended colours to create a style redolent of Oriental art, embracing the flatness of the paper rather than using conventional perspective.
The Tulip Pitchers is printed with 16 colours produced in 8 runs from 8 woodblocks. A Dark Pot with Roses is printed with 35 colours in 8 runs from 10 woodblocks. The printing process of this series was arrived at through experimentation. Since they used soft woods for some blocks, the prints were made on an indirect flatbed press that would not destroy the blocks before each run was completed. The blocks were each hand-inked using a number of methods. These included blend rolling, where a number of coloured inks are applied with the roller to achieve a softly graduated finish, and applying inks to localized areas of the block using paper stumps, brushes and fingers.
Both The Tulip Pitcher and A Dark Pot with Roses are produced in an edition of 70 with 18 artist’s proofs.
Sean Rainbird, ed., Print Matters: The Kenneth E. Tyler Gift, exhibition catalogue, Tate, 2004.
Ed Baynard: Woodblock Prints and Watercoloured Lithographs 1980, Tyler Graphics, Bedford, New York, 1980, reproduced p.25 in colour.
Tyler Graphics Catalogue Raisonné, 1974-1985, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, USA, 1987, pp66-77, reproduced p.72 in colour.