Edwin Byatt was a very fine artist and well recognised. However like so many artists of his time he had to make his living predominantly from commercial work.Amongst his commercial commissions were some of the landscapes for the railway carriage prints that used to hang under the luggage rack in each railway carriage. These pictures were commissioned from some of the best artists of the day and have now become quite collected.
For many years his day job was that of re-toucher working on the lithographic plates in a printing works. It was this printing company that commissioned this series of flower pictures from him, probably because they could see how sad it was that such a fine artist should be wasting his time correcting plates of other people’s work. His flower paintings are superb and I understand Her Majesty The Queen Mother had one hanging in her bedroom.
This series of prints was printed in the late 30s when the quality of printing was at its height. It is only with the recent giclee printing that we have begun to get anywhere near the same quality of work. The colours were put on individually and it was a highly skilled job with much hand touching of the plates. As you will see looking at these prints the purity of tone and subtlety and yet strength of colour is amazing. The quality of paper is also quite different. Although it feels thinner and more pliable it is actually far more resistant and forgiving.We have put a very low price on these because they are what we now understand to be ‘open editions’ ie they are not limited to a specific number and signed by the artist. However they are limited by scarcity and there is no way anyone will be able to reproduce this quality again. This makes them very desirable and they are certainly very decorative!