Notable Etcher

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs far as architectural graphic historic artists and etchers go, there were many.  However, few were recognized in their lifetime or thereafter. William Walcot was one exception. He was the most prominent architectural draughtsman of the 1920s and 30s. He received notability in his lifetime. An example of this, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1913, as an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1916 and a Fellow of the RIBA in 1922.  Walcot developed a somewhat impressionistic style in gouache and watercolour which won commissions from Edwin Lutyens, Herbert Baker and Aston Webb.

William Walcot (10 March 1874 – 21 May 1943) was born in Lustdorf, near Odessa in a mixed Scottish-Russian family. He grew up in Western Europe and South Africa, returning to Russia at the age of 17, and studied arts and architecture under Leon Benois at the Imperial Academy of Arts inSaint Petersburg. Later, he attended art schools in Paris.  He was well known as a practitioner of refined Art Nouveau alternately known as Style Moderne in Moscow, Russia. His trademark Lady’s Head keystone ornament became the easily recognisable symbol of Russian Style Moderne.  His largest and best known work was the Metropol Hotel, financed by Savva MamontovLady’s Head became Walcot’s trademark, repeated in his later works (usually in place of an arch keystone), and frequently imitated by local craftsmen.

Walcot’s successful practice was ruined with the outbreak of World War II, and, in 1943, Walcot committed suicide at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. Walcot’s painting and etchings are frequently exhibited; his painting palette is preserved at the Royal Institute of British Architects. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Fine Arts Society in 1974.

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WalcotStPaulsCathedralEvery great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.

Warm Thanks to Feoli Fine Art

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