Lower Manhattan (The Woolworth Building, New York)

William WALCOT
Circa 1923

Edition not stated, c. 1923. Signed in pencil.

A fine impression, in dark brown ink, with delicate overall plate tone, on off-white wove paper; the full sheet with margins (1 7/8 to 3 1/4 inches), in excellent condition. Scarce.

William Walcot was born at Lustdorf, near Odessa in a mixed Scottish-Russian family. He grew up in Western Europe and South Africa, returning to Russia at the age of 17, and studied arts and architecture under Leon Benois at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. Later, he attended art schools in Paris. Walcot's career as an architect in Moscow lasted only six years, but he managed to leave a lasting heritage of refined, pure Art Nouveau buildings.

In 1906, Walcot relocated to London where he worked as an architectural draftsman, famous for his artistic presentation of other architects' designs and exhibiting his own work at the Royal Academy summer exhibitions. He became one of the most sought-after English architectural illustrators of the 1920s and 30s developing his own impressionistic style in gouache and watercolor which won numerous commissions from the most renowned British architects of the period. He also became well known in printmaking, creating renderings of ancient Greek, Roman, Babylonian and Egyptian buildings, as well as contemporary scenes of London and other European cities. A folio of his work was published in 1919 as Architectural Watercolours and Etchings of William Walcot. He was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1913, as an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1916, and a Fellow of the RIBA in 1922. He was also an associate of the British School at Rome.

In 1923 Walcot traveled to New York with his publisher Harold Dickins where he etched at least half a dozen plates of Manhattan, including this image of Lower Manhattan with the Woolworth Building towering in the background, probably viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge.