Dalziel’s Apprentice, by Peter S Smith, relief engraving, 140 x 90 mm. Image courtesy of the artist.

As part of the Dalziel Project, contemporary printmakers have been collaborating with researchers, exploring the archive in the British Museum. This has generated new work in dialogue with the Dalziels. Bethan Stevens has written about this in Printmaking Today, focusing on the recent Dalziel-related work of Neil Bousfield, Louise Hayward, Chris Pig and Peter S. Smith: you can read the full piece on the Printmaking Today website, and here we take the opportunity to showcase the new work, alongside the archival images (see gallery below).

Peter S. Smith’s Dalziel’s Apprentice is currently on tour with the Society of Wood Engravers exhibition (2018-2019), and has been exhibited at the London Original Print Fair (Royal Academy of Arts), Anne Desmet and Friends: Wood Engravings (Kevis House), and RE Originals (Bankside Gallery). Smith’s work investigates the experience of the junior employees who worked at Dalziel, exploring the ‘ambiguous and organic’ potential of the lines and surfaces. He has been drawn to the backgrounds and peripheries of Dalziel engravings, seeking out ‘the bits where an engraver in the Dalziel factory could have a bit of fun – some freedom’. In Dalziel’s Apprentice, Smith excerpts and copies a tiny portion of drapery background from an apparently banal Victorian illustration (gallery image 2).