Sir Terry Frost

Boat Shapes


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Sir Terry Frost 1915–2003
Linocut on paper
Image: 132 × 143 mm
Purchased 1983

Catalogue entry

P07982 Boat Shapes 1952

Linocut 5 1/4 × 5 5/8 (132 × 143) on paper 6 1/2 × 6 3/8 (167 × 162), printed by the artist at No.4 Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, not editioned
Inscribed ‘Terry Frost’ b.r. and ‘linocut printed in 52 but all different possibly 20 in all’
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1983

P07982 was printed by hand-pressure. Of the twenty or so printed ‘each one is pretty unique’ in that most of them were hand printed and Frost ‘played about with a bit of colour on the prints’. In some cases he used ‘a combination of press and hand’, the press being an etching press. The ‘Boat Shapes’ prints relate closely to the motifs Frost was incorporating in his paintings in the early 1950s inspired by the rocking movements of boats moored in harbour (see Lawrence Alloway, Nine Abstract Artists, 1954, pp.23–4 for an account of the genesis of ‘Blue Movement’, repr. no.9, a painting in this series, now in the collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery). P07982 is printed in blue, black and brown from one block. Frost printed the block twice, once in reverse, applying the colours with a brush in order to be able to print more than one at a time. The lower half, therefore, is a mirror reflection of the upper half. Frost has written, ‘It was most important to me, the accident of that double print opened up the imagination to all kinds of possibilities and I did do a super Blue ptg from that double print which is in Vancouver.’

P07983 is printed from two blocks in brown and black, the black being printed last. The ink appears to have been relatively dry, allowing the paper to show through as a texture. P07984, printed on off-white paper in black, is also unevenly printed but is a more complex image than the other two. According to Frost, ‘This is much more based on a painting idea and is a much more complicated linocut.’ The emphasis on the vertical stripes in this work and the deep black tone anticipate the paintings he would begin to make on taking up an appointment as Gregory Fellow at Leeds University in that year. This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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