The New Architecture of Power

A letterpress print on 310 gsm Southbank Smooth paper with Lyme Bay Press oil based printers ink and watercolour pochoir.

Edition: 30 (3 artists proofs)

Image size: 160 x 100 mm

Paper size: 210 x 240 mm

Mount size: 300 x 400 mm to fit a standard sized frame

Price: £60 mounted (aperture 180 x 210 mm)

Continuing my series of prints celebrating the fine brutalist architecture of Fawley Power Station; this is the sixth print.

Earlier this year I bought an Adana Eight Five letterpress and have had a lot of fun setting type for greetings cards and to accompany my wood engravings. I had seen a few examples of letterpress ornaments being used creatively to make up picture images, such as of animals and well known landmarks. The Starshaped Press based in Chicago really inspired me with their imaginative recreations of iconic buildings of Chicago. So why not try to create one of the memorable north-east facing facade of Fawley Power Station, which can be clearly viewed from Southampton Water and the Hamble / Warsash shore?

Sir John Betjeman reportedly said that the proposals for the new power station at Fawley heralded “the new architecture of power” when talking to the Solent Protection Society in the early ‘60’s. This seemed a fitting title for my print using letterpress ornaments.

I had started to collect small amounts of ornaments and had bought a job lot of Times New Roman which came with some small boxes of ornaments, including stars and dashes, and short lengths of rule. With a bit of luck it seemed that I had just enough stars and dashes to create the glazed roof of the turbine hall set under a length of brass rule. Some windmill ornaments and dotted rule made up the main body of the hall and some wave pattern ornaments Southampton Water. Some brackets from a Castellar font made up the curved form of the control room and Times New Roman ‘O’s made the chimney flues. The challenge was locking it up with so many different sized fonts and ornaments but after packing and repacking with a few slips of paper it all seemed to lock tight in the chase.

Having printed the assembly of ornaments the print seemed to lack visual weight so I experimented with some Winsor and Newton artists watercolour and a stencil brush using the technique known as ‘pochoir’ to stencil a Phthalo Turquoise colour for the hall and a mix of Aureolin and Yellow Ochre for the chimney. This seems to give the print some visual weight without distracting from the delicacy of the printed ornaments.