Monday, 3 October 2011

Polperro Harbour by Roland Hipkins

Roland Hipkins
British-New Zealand printmaker
and art teacher .

After Lynmouth harbour (posting of sept. 17th)  by a still unknown printmaker here's now Polperro Harbour in print. This print puzzled me for some time and now I know why. It’s a mirror image of this picturesque Cornish harbour. I've "mirrored back" Hipkins original rendering (see the autograph). And used a photograph, that I've trimmed, to compare the viewing points which are now very identical . Either Hipkins stood here or the photographer that took the photograph Hipkins used in New Zealand). Pretty accurate he was. There are only a few more windows in the buildings opposite the harbour  indicating modern times. And the roof taken of the little building or shed lower left.  

Hipkins, born in Staffordshire and trained at the Royal College of Art in London,moved to New Zealand under the La Trobe Scheme, encouraging British Art teachers to come to New Zealand. From 1922 Hipkins taught art at Napier and later Wellington Technical Schools. In 1923 he married Scottish Jenny Campbell (Ayr 1887-1970) trained at Edinburgh College of Art who emigrated to New Zealand with Hipkins in 1922. I discovered Roland Hipkins Polperro print by stumbling over these éxamples by his wife Jenny Campbell. 
They were in Margaret Anna Dobson’s (1888-1981) 1930 “Block-cutting and Print-making” book that I've recently obtained. Also, in 1930, Eric Heskett Hubbard (1892-1957), named in Dobsons book, also edited his book "Simple Colour Block Print Making" at the Forest Press. Dobsons book and her 1936 published ”Lino Prints” both were edited at Pitman & Sons are illustrated by many examples by contemporary printmakers. With prints pulled from original blocks.

Besides a good and well trained painter Margaret Dobson was quite capable of producing a linoleumcut print herself. Like the one (left) “printed from 5 linoleum blocks”. It it is the only example (included in her second, 1936, book "Lino Cuts" ) I could find.

Margaret Dobson was an American painter and illustrator, trained in Pennslylvania America and studied also in Paris and stayed in London before finally returning for America in 1933. Reading the books and seeing the dozens of names and examples she must have been well acquainted with most if not all 1920-1935 grafic artists in England. Like:

E. Mackenzie (?) 

Sydney Lee (1866-1957)

and Charles Darwins artistic granddaughter Gwen Raverat (1875-1957)
and many others she used illustrating her books.


  1. Have you contacted the Cornwall Artist's Index abou Hipkin's work there? They may not know about him and there is a form on the site.

    Campbell is an interesting addition to the Edinburgh scene and confirms you as an honorary Scot.

    Haji B

  2. I didn't know it existed, I will. I'll write it in my passport. And leave the British engravers for Modern Printmakers to deal with.