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Manchester Portraits. Twelve Lithographed Drawings by W. Rothenstein. First Series

Rothenstein, William

Manchester. J. E. Cornish. 1900
One of 55 proofs, of which 50 were for sale.

The Manchester Portraits consists of twelve portraits of the following Mancunian personalities - Mr A. Brodsky, The Misses Gaskell, Principal Hopkinson, Alderman Hoy, Sir Bosdin T. Leech, Dean Maclure, George Milner, Herbert Philips, Charles Rowley, William Simpson, Reuben Spencer, T. R. Wilkinson.

Rothenstein found working on this project extremly dissatisfying. In a letter to Margaret Woods in September 1900 he refers to 'those dreary months at Manchester last winter, over a book of portraits, the last, I hope, I shall ever do'. The main problem was continuous arguments between him and Charles Rowley who, as well as sitting for one of the portraits, was the organiser and financier behind the project.

Rothenstein's introduction to the portfolio is far from enthusiastic - 'Seven years ago, in the hopeful fashion of extreme youth, I joyously undertook my first book of portraits. Each succeeding one has proved a more serious task, and, with a growing conscience, I only now fully realize the gravity of an undertaking of this kind. The exigencies of my sitters are not always my own; at the same time, if an unsympathetic rendering of the features or character of any of those included in the present series cause them or their friends pain, I would take this opportunity of apologizing for my lack of insight.' [from the Introduction].

Needless to say Rowley's proposal of a second series of Manchester portraits was abandoned.
Folio. (Sheet size 335 x 460 mm). Illustrated with 12 lithograph portraits printed recto only, each with a leaf of text. Original publisher's green printed wrappers, with the lithographs loosely inserted.

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