Lacey (Edward Hill)

[Portrait of an old woman],


, , c.1930.
the extensive use of drypoint burr creates a mezzotint-like intensity of velvety chiaroscuro, contributing to the quasi-religious intensity of the elderly sitter’s solemn, saintly pose, placed as she is before the profound shadow of an arched recess in a cold stone wall. This plate is surely an homage to Rembrandt, looking at the old woman’s 17th century headdress framing her heavily lined face, above her gnarled hands and firmly crossed arms.

Edward Hill Lacey (1891-1967), sculptor and printmaker, was born and educated in Bradford, attending the School of Art there until called up to fight in the First World War. During that time, he applied to the sculpture department at the Slade, where he was encouraged to draw everything he saw in his service life and to re-apply when the conflict was over. Succeeding in this, he supplemented his studies in sculpture with drawing portraits, in which he flourished, even teaching himself etching to extend his practice. For most of his career he was based in London, with studios first in Camden then in south London. He staged several prestigious institutional exhibitions in London, Manchester and Glasgow, eventually settling in Hastings Old Town, where he died..