Emile Verpilleux 1888– 1964
St. Paul’s from Cheapside 1912
Colour woodcut 14 × 18 ¼ inches (35.5 × 46.4 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.
'In St. Paul’s from Cheapside we have an unusual vision of Wren’s cathedral, looking through the bare boughs of City trees, and seeing the beautiful architecture of its northern side and eastern end, with the Corinthian columns that lift the dome majestically skyward. People are passing to and fro outside the railings, a few are entering the gates, but between us and the noble building is an envelope of light and atmosphere which lends the scene poetry, while above is a sky of broken light' - Malcolm Salaman, Masters of the Colour Print, 1927