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Intaglio Printmaker Prize Winner: Stuart Brocklehurst

Intaglio Printmaker are pleased to announce that Stuart Brocklehurst was the recipient of this year’s prize for the Derby Print Open. The team loved the attention to detail in this piece, and the methodically animated way Stuart has captured the movement of water. We have caught up with Stuart to find out more about his work and his explorations in printmaking. 

Where Seven Streams Fall by Stuart Brocklehurst

Mezzotint on Fabriano Rosapina 220gsm paper 
Edition of 20
200 x 300mm

Tell us about the inspiration behind this print.

The print is based on sketches made in situ. The waterfall is called Lumb Falls and lies in the Calder Valley about 10 miles as the crow flies from my home. The pool below the waterfall is a popular wild swimming spot, it’s not often that you can go there and find it as deserted as in my print. I have even been there in February and found people swimming. Quite a commitment in the middle of a Pennine winter.
My title is little cryptic. In the Summer of 1914 a group of local lads from Hebden Bridge and the surrounding villages posed for a photograph on the rock above the waterfall. Shortly after they all left for France, none were to return home. Some years later the Poet Ted Hughes came across the photograph and wrote his poem “Six young Men”. My title comes from a line in this poem.

What made you get into printmaking? 

I came late to printmaking. I had done some on my foundation course and again whilst doing my Diploma in Wildlife Illustration at Dyfed College of Art. I included an etching in my graduation show. After college I concentrated on painting with little success. It took me 20 years to realise that I didn’t enjoy painting, wasn’t really any good and certainly wasn’t getting any artistic satisfaction from it. I saw some linocuts on the internet and thought that might be the way to go, so I ordered some tools, ink and lino and haven’t looked back. 

Tell us about your other works – are they similar or different? Do you tend to work within one technique?

At first I concentrated on Linocuts but I was doing sketches that I wanted to turn into prints but couldn’t do with the limitations of lino. So I started to look around for some other method; etching would have been the obvious option but I knew that I would be too influenced  by others to develop my own style. And in any case in my home studio with two young children in the house it wouldn’t have been practicable. In 2013 I was exhibiting at Printfest in Ulverston. After setting up I had a quick look around and came across a display of  Mezzotints by Martin Mitchell. This was what I’d been looking for. The only problem was I didn’t have a clue how to do it. Coincidentally as it turned out I was staying in the same B&B as Martin and over the course of the weekend he explained the technique and was generous enough to swap one of his prints for one of my linocuts. So with his explanation and print to examine and a lot of trial and error I began making Mezzotints. I also make Wood Engravings and again this came about through a chance meeting with another printmaker who generously shared his knowledge. I had made a wood engraving at college and after graduating  I did a lot of illustrations using scraperboard to make images that looked like wood engravings. But didn’t think of making them myself until I exhibited with the wood engraver Peter S Smith at  the Pendle Print Fair.

Now I make Mezzotints, Linocuts and Wood Engravings. The mood  of the subject matter dictating the technique used. My Mezzotints are about mood and atmosphere, Wood Engravings more illustrative and the linocuts colour and pattern.

What would be on your ultimate Intaglio Printmaker wish list? 

Your Intaglio Etching Press – if only I had the room!

If you could own 1 artwork, what would it be?

John Nash’s ‘Cornfield’.

The mezzotinted plate used for print

stuart Brocklehurst - About the artist

“I go for a walk with a sketchbook and make drawings of anything that interests me. Then back in the studio I use the drawings to try and make the best print that I possibly can.”

I am a printmaker from the Calder Valley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. My work is naturalistic, representational and rooted in the British Countryside, its landscape and wildlife. Although I don’t consider myself to be either a wildlife or landscape artist being happy to tackle anything I feel will make an interesting or challenging print.

I work mainly in Mezzotint, Wood Engraving and Linocut each being of equal importance to my practice. For me printmaking is a marvellous alchemy of craftsmanship skills and art. I take pleasure in working in a traditional way with tools and methods that are essentially little changed over the centuries. Making a print has the appeal of a puzzle. For all the planning and working out that is done beforehand, there is no certainty about the outcome of the finished image. Until finally it is revealed as the paper is pulled from the block.

I have exhibited my work in exhibitions at galleries throughout the UK and in the USA, Belgium, Russia and Brazil. My prints are held in the permanent collections of Doncaster Art Gallery, the North Bristol Health Trust. The Institute of Printmaking at the University of Campinas in Brazil, The International Mezzotint Society and the Museum of Fine Arts, Ekaterinberg, Russia. As well as numerous private collections in the UK and abroad.

Congratulations on your win, Stuart. We look forward to seeing what new works you create. 

For more information on Stuart’s work, please visit his website and social media:

Instagram: @stuartbrocklehurstprints