East Ham 1908 – Aberaeron 1993
George Chapman made his first prints in Michael Rothenstein's studio at Great Bardfield. The earliest plates are of Pennant in Cardiganshire where his friends kept a cottage, and of his wife Kate pregnant, and from 1953 the Rhondda and other coal-mining communities in south Wales. The Rhondda Suite was commissioned in 1960 by the Hon. Robert Erskine for St George's Gallery Prints in Cork Street, London. They are undoubtedly among the most important prints ever made depicting Wales and its industrial landscape.
The early prints are inventive and experimental in their varied combination of etching processes where pattern, line and texture are more important than the representation of three dimensional space. A growing confidence in the medium allowed him to develop on a very large scale drawing directly onto the sheets of copper and zinc in front of the subject. Back in the studio he worked further into the plates with aquatint and then scored, scraped and burnished the metal to build up texture.
The University purchased its first two Chapman etchings in the 1960s as part of the Gulbenkian Loan Scheme. In 1986 it purchased 27 etchings directly from the artist; 23 etchings, posters and drawings followed in 1988; 15 etchings in 1991; seven in 1992; and several individual purchases from London galleries now form what is believed to be a complete set of his etchings.