‘Powerscourt 1945’ by Alastair Keady
280 x 400mm
10 hand pulled inks, collaged newspaper, and vintage gold gilding on 285gsm Fabriano Rosapina Ivory paper. Edition of 16, numbered and signed by the artist
About the Piece
Last year my mother asked me if I would like some old gold leaf she had inherited (my grandfather was a gardener in various estates over the years). She said it had been surplus to a gilding job on the gates in the Powerscourt estate, in north Wicklow. I said I was very interested, but I would come back to her when I had a plan for it. I noted it was wrapped in some yellowed newspaper, but didn’t pay much attention at the time. I assumed it was probably early seventies in vintage.
Months go by, and I finally resolve to do a piece that alludes to the source of the gold. I ask to see the package, to gauge how much gold leaf is actually usable, and discover the actual age of the newspaper, and gold – 1945! The war is still underway in the Japanese held islands. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a month away. Myles na nCopaleen / Flann O’Brien is writing in less than respectful style about the investiture of new President Seán T. O’Kelly. I feel bad about the destruction of this little package of ephemera, but it’s sat in a drawer for nearly eighty years, and will do so again, unless it’s re-introduced to the world as part of print.
So… I’ve tried to coalesce the spirit of the late ’40s with the visual language I like to work with in 2022. There’s a lot going on here – ten layers of ink – including two layers of hand painted monoprint greenery, loose sketched interpretation of the Bamberg gate – which I’ve decided was likely to have been one of the Powerscourt gates to recieve the gilding makeover in 1945. An overlay of a documented, and gilded section of the gate, that runs right to the deckled edge of the print. I aimed to use the entire remaining stash of gold leaf in the edition, which ended up, after pruning out the inevitable casualties of a ten layer print, to 16 in total. It’s a special piece – obviously a one-off, and one where I let myself be led by the process, and responded to the givens of the artifacts, the gardens, the history, and the preciousness of the material. The print is intended to be float mounted in an A3-or-larger box frame, but YMMV (it’d probably benefit from a slightly larger frame, but I went with A3 in the pictured version) . Newspaper clipping subject matter is pot luck, but they’re all captivating little messages from a moment that resonates in history. Thanks Ma!
About the Artist
Alastair is a graphic design graduate of NCAD and the Royal College of Art. He’s worked as a designer, and design educator, for far too long to dwell on. Interested in process and materiality in printmaking, he’s previously worked in letterpress, but returned to screen printing in 2017.
Often found devising an image-making technique, and then discovering ways to undermine, abuse, and subvert it. Loves a happy accident. Disinterested in rigorous adherence to consistency in a world of perfect reproduction. Which is convenient.
Frames can be purchased through Damn Fine Print in black, white and natural wooden finishes, here. Bespoke framing is also available. Please note framed orders must be collected from the store and can't be shipped.
Shipping and Returns
This print is sold unframed securely packaged in a cardboard tube, sent via An Post Standard Postage. For details on shipping and returns click here. Please note colours may vary between computer screens.