Robert Sargent Austin (1895 - 1973) was a noted artist, illustrator, engraver and currency designer.
He was widely considered to be one of Britain's leading printmakers.
Austin studied at Leicester Municipal School of Art from 1909 to 1913, and then at the Royal College of Art in London where his studies were interrupted by the First World War
He returned to the College in 1919, where he studied etching under Sir Frank Short.
In 1922, he won the Prix de Rome which enabled him to study at the British School at Rome, 1922-25 (during which time this print was produced).
He travelled throughout Italy and studied the prints of the Old Master. At this time - he abandoned etching and took up line engraving, which he thought was more suited to his artistic temperament. He mastered the technique with ease.
On his return to Britain in 1926, he was appointed to the post of Professor of Engraving at the Royal College of Art.
Austin acted as an advisor on the design of banknotes to the Bank of England between 1956 and 1961 and designed the ten shillings and one pound notes issued in the early 1960s.
He remained devoted to art for its own sake and was uninterested in selling it or even receiving approval from others. Despite this fact, his pictures are now held in the collections of the Tate Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, The British Museum and The Ashmolean Museum and a huge retrospective of his work was held at the latter in 1980.
This fine line engraving dates to 1926 and shows The Pack Bridge, Aylestone, Leicestershire.
The medieval Pack Bridge (or Pack Horse) Bridge in Aylestone probably dates from the 15th century, with later additions and alterations. It was built to provide a dry route for horses laden with packs on their backs to safely carry cargo across the damp and swampy ground of the river floodplain.
The bridge is built mainly with stone (including granite), but has been repaired with bricks in a number of places. It includes eleven arches, three of which belong to the causeway and eight to the bridge proper. A number of the arches are slightly pointed, as shown in this fine engraving.
Austin signed his engraved plates with his initials RSA in honour of the old master engravers who often signed their plates with a monogram. He used his full name for his etched plates.
It is pencil signed and dated by the artist, lower right (as photographed).
The image measures 12.2 x 11.2 cm
It is a fine impression, printed on a cream laid paper from an edition of only 60 impressions.
An impression is in the collection of the Met, New York, and it is harder work by him to source.
It is sold unframed but mounted ready for framing.
I am also listing another two engravings by Austen in my Iconic Edinburgh online shop.
HAPPY TO POST INTERNATIONALLY, PLEASE ASK FOR A POSTAL QUOTE OUTSIDE OF THE UK.