‘La Lieutenance Honfleur’ – Stanley Anderson

‘La Lieutenance Honfleur’ – Stanley Anderson

Alfred Charles Stanley Anderson CBE RA (1884-1966) was a British engraver, etcher and watercolour painter. He studied at the Royal College of Art and at Goldsmiths College in the 1920’s and was part of the movement to reinvigorate the art and craft of etching on metal plates. Anderson’s most famous work was a series of highly detailed engravings of crafts people at work – this took him more than twenty years to complete for which in 1951 he was awarded the CBE.

The etching above  ‘La Lieutenance, Honfleur’ (20 x 38 cm) is dated 1926 and was made during a period when the artist was engaged with recording landscapes and street scenes. Honfleur is a small port in Normandy, near the mouth of the River Seine; although we cannot see the water, the masts and sails of the ships to the left of the picture indicate the river is on the other side of the low wall. There is a group of people close to the wall; they appear to be engaged in some kind of trading and are likely unloading fish. The people are wearing worker caps typical of France and essential for protection against the harsh sunlight. The artist (and therefore the viewer) is slightly removed from the quite relaxed scene; we can observe that some of the people are depicted either sat on or leaning against the wall. The short shadows indicate it might be lunchtime, whilst the large shadow in the immediate foreground suggests the artist may be taking shelter from the glaring midday sun.

The picture is dominated by the large, grand looking building to the centre right of the image. Unlike the buildings on the opposite bank of the port in the background of the picture, it stands alone; the slightly converging verticals give rise to its size and mass. This is the lieutenancy building (La Lieutenance) and stands at the entrance to the harbour. The building dates back to the 18th century and is the former home of the Governor of Honfleur. One of the sides of the building was an old gate leading into the ancient town and was once part of the town’s fortifications. Stanley Anderson captures the splendor and historic significance of La Lieutenance in this wonderful etching of a typical harbour scene of northern France.

Blog written by The Atkinson volunteer John Volynchook.

Posted on 26 September 2017 under Artist, Exhibitions

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