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Christopher Le Brun
Fifty Etchings 2005

This portfolio of fifty etchings was made between October 2004 and September 2005. The etchings were proofed and editioned by the printer Simon Marsh at Paupers Press, London, and published by Charles Booth-Clibborn under his imprint The Paragon Press, London, in 2005. The Fitzwilliam Museum’s set, numbered 13 out of the edition of 50, was given by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2006.

This online exhibition was created on the occasion of the first display of this portfolio at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2008 (20 May to 28 September). All fifty etchings are included. Each portfolio also incorporated a monotype made by painting in oils on one of the etching plates and printing a coloured version. The Fitzwilliam set includes two monotypes, which are shown here immediately following the related etching. Each etching derives from a single plate, but the combination of techniques varies throughout the series.

As in Le Brun’s earlier series of Fifty Etchings (1990), the imagery revisits themes recurrent in the artist’s earlier work, while also introducing new motifs, which have subsequently been developed in paintings and sculpture. The sequence is carefully constructed by the artist, shaping associations and memories of literature and music as well as art. Like the rider and pilgrim in the prints, travelling through the dark wood in quest of the tower, the viewer is drawn into a metaphysical journey in search of meaning and beauty.