Emile Verpilleux 1888– 1964
Entrance to the British Museum 1914
Colour woodcut 18 ¼ × 14 inches (46.4 × 35.5 cm)
Signed and dated
Born in London to a Scottish mother and Belgian father, Verpilleux studied at Regent Street Polytechnic and the Académie des Beaux Arts, Antwerp. The colour woodcuts he made from 1910 to 1914 were highly acclaimed, and he became the first artist to have colour print exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 1913, J.B. Manson commented in The Studio that he 'was capable of producing effects of vibrating colour of great subtlety and delicacy which has not previously been attempted ... and of having brought the art of woodcutting to a very high point ... the most subtle effects of colour, intimately and harmoniously related'. Further recognition came in the 1920s when Malcolm Salaman devoted an issue of Masters of the Colour Print to Verpilleux. He continued working and exhibiting in London until the mid-1930s, when he moved to Bermuda. Here he established himself as one of the island’s most prolific and respected artists.
'A number of characteristic figures, visitors and habitués, stand about on the steps leading up to the façade, and … suggest the emphasis of dark tones, with notes of black. Under the colonnade the people are shown crowding, but the colour, the architecture, the Ionic columns, the cornice of the portico, the doorway and the windows are all treated with the most exquisite harmony of green and grey tints, so they seem almost elusive' - Malcolm Salaman, Masters of the Colour Print, 1927