The hand colouring of antique etchings and engravings is obviously a skilled task. When this colouring is performed in a manner sympathetic to the period of the print and the colourist works closely with the printed detail of an etching the result can be very desirable. Many people love to collect hand coloured prints. Because the approach of each colourist in a sense produces a unique 'new work' its fair to say that the addition of colour gives the buyer a very special unique print.
But colour is not always desirable. Some collectors prefer prints in their original, often uncoloured state, as issued. On the other hand, there are others who follow the argument that these prints as decorative items look more attractive coloured, and that if the colouring is well done it further enhances the work and value of the print. In the end it really is a matter of personal taste. In my own collection I have both coloured and uncoloured prints.
Above: "Leaving Home" by Francis Montague (Frank) Holl c1873 Steel engraving published in the Art Journal c1879. After the painting by F. Holl A.R.A. and engraved by C.H. Jeens.
Francis Montague (Frank) Holl was a painter and illustrator. He received his first art instruction from his father, Francis Holl. At the age of fifteen Holl entered the Royal Academy schools, where in 1862 he was awarded a silver medal for drawing and in 1863 the gold medal for a religious subject, Abraham about to Sacrifice Isaac. In 1864 he exhibited two paintings at the Royal Academy, where he continued to show his work regularly until his death. Holl was elected an Academician of the Royal Academy in 1878 and RA in 1883.
On 10 Feb. 1872 he produced, as a double-page illustration for the ‘Graphic,’ At a Railway Station—A Study.’ He subsequently painted this subject both in oil and water-colour, and called it ‘Leaving Home.’
This is an example of hand colour applied to an original fine steel engraving making this a unique version of the print which has been coloured sympathetic to the original painting.
This print is available for sale HERE