The Face of the Waters [from Genesis]
Wood engraving1923115x90mm[sheet 176x134mm]
Reference: Postan W.43; Greenwood 44
An extremely rare proof of an illustration of Genesis, published by the Nonesuch Press, London in 1924. A fine impression printed on laid Japan paper with margins, signed, dated and titled by the artist in pencil; inscribed above the image, 2nd set of 2 sets; further inscribed verso, 2 sets only No 2; also in the artist's hand, edition 12.
Provenance: Given or sold by Nash to the artist, Eric Kennington.
For an explanation of the edition of the Genesis proofs see Greenwood, The Wood-Engravings of Paul Nash, The Wood Lea Press, Woodbridge, 1997. In short, ten of the twelve wood engravings were issued in an edition of 12 and some sets were offered for sale by the Redfern Gallery. Two prints were not included, Contemplation because the block cracked after only a few impressions and The Void, although in this case we do not know the reason. Typically, and this applies to Nash's prints in general, annotations relating to edition sizes are frequently erased or amended, possibly sometimes because the demand for prints was greater than Nash had at first thought.
The English poet and playwright, Gordon Bottomley, described the engravings for Genesis as, works of unadulterated genius, and Nash explained to him, I have tried perhaps impossible things but I feel the whole lot do hang together pretty well. They came quite easily one after another and I know they are much better engravings technically.