This etching is one of nineteen prints which comprise a collection by the Edinburgh Printmakers, entitled 'An Edinburgh Suite.' It shows the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh lit by sunlight under a sky full of clouds. The brewery ands its distinctive chimney takes up the centre, while the foreground is dominated by a steep and tightly-winding stone staircase: it's dizzying descent provides drama and a strong sense of vertical depth.
The 'spotlight' effect created by the shaft of sunlight is emphasised by the shadow cast by the chimney onto the building behind it, by vertical hatching against the sky to the left, and by tight cross-hatching on the stone parapet. The viewpoint suggests a landing on the staircase: from this position the eye is drawn to the stepped tenement gables of Slateford Road: the handrail leads the viewer down to to Stewart Terrace below.
The lines on an etching are created by scraping away a waxy medium from a metal plate, then applying acid to the plate. The acid eats into the plate where it has been exposed: when ink is applied to the plate, it is retained by these sunken lines. A print is produced by running the inked plate and a sheet of paper through a printing press, and the printing process can be repeated hundreds of times times before the plate deteriorates.
Etchings and screenprints have been an important part of Tim Cockburn's development as an artist. During his time with the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop he editioned the work of other artists, producing prints from their original plate, as well as printing his own.
'An Edinburgh Suite' consists of nineteen prints commissioned by the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Artists living in Edinburgh were invited to provide visual experience of the city. The collection features examples of every printmaking technique, including etchings, linocuts, lithographs, and screenprints.
Tim Cockburn was born in Sheffield in 1955. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and spent a year painting in Tuscany and Umbria funded by an award from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. He also travelled in India and Sri Lanka. In the late eighties he ran courses in Printmaking at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, serving as Chairman of the Council of Edinburgh Printmakers from 1990 until 1994.
He has exhibited widely in galleries throughout Scotland and his work is represented in many corporate and public collections including HM the Queen. Edinburgh University, Fife Council, Art in Hospitals and The Royal Bank of Scotland. He also has numerous works in private collections throughout the world.
He currently works in Pittenweem in Fife, where he "produces detailed and lively paintings populated by a large cast of people performing the many rituals of contemporary life".
With thanks to The Fothering Gallery for information about the artist