Frequently Asked Norman Lindsay Questions
What is my Norman Lindsay worth?
If you have purchased your Norman Lindsay artwork from us we will always endeavour to promptly provide a retail estimate of what your work may currently be worth. Some pieces have experienced significant price increases and others modest gains. Given the large number of enquiries of this nature that we receive, whether they be for general information, insurance purposes, inheritance or selling we are not able respond to all enquiries.
Do you buy Norman Lindsay artworks?
Occassionally we do purchase Norman Lindsay works for resale. Items must be in excellent condition and will be subject to our own verification and authentication process before any payment is made. If you are looking to sell a Norman Lindsay artwork contact us via phone or email first to discuss the piece and your price expectations. From there we can determine if you should send it to us. Under no circumstances should any item be sent to us without first discussing it with us.
Do you have a show room / gallery?
No. We originally operated from the Beechworth Gallery in North East Victoria and are now purely online,
What is a facsimile etching?
Facsimile etchings are an affordable way to secure a Norman Lindsay artwork and where first released in 1974. There are a maximum of 550 copies of each facsimile and many are keenly sought after. For more information visit our detailed page at: Norman Lindsay Facsimile etchings and for items currently in our online shop Norman Lindsay Facsimile etchings for sale
Online Auction Websites?
Quite often we receive enquiries about items that have been purchased, or items people are looking to purchase from online auction websites. In many cases the description of the item will give you a good idea of what it actually is. Here are a few of the items we regularly see.
Below is an explanation as provided by Odana Editions:
Increasingly, there are pages from books being offered on eBay and other auction houses that are being described as Bookplates. We receive numerous requests for information regarding the correct use of the term Bookplate or Bookplate Print being applied to Norman Lindsay reproductions in these situations. Commonly, eBay sellers and other auction houses are using the term Bookplate Print to describe a page cut out of a book. This is incorrect. A Bookplate Print is not a page from a book but a separate work of art altogether and should not be associated with pages taken from books.
In a number of books with reproductions of Norman’s works, each reproduction is listed as plate one, plate two and so on. The Two Hundred Etchings of Norman Lindsay is just one example. The seller then uses the term Bookplate Print to describe these reproductions reasoning that since the plates come from a book then they can be described as Bookplate Prints. This extrapolation is incorrect and misleading. There is no reference to these reproductions as Bookplate Prints in any of these books, only as plates. A number of books do not even refer to them as plates. A Bookplate is a distinctly different item and should not be confused with a book page.
Items commonly referred to as Bookplates on eBay are taken from several publications, the most common being Norman Lindsay: Favourite Etchings published by Angus & Robertson in 1977. This and the 1984 reprint contain 100 reproductions of etchings. Other books regularly broken up for their images include the Norman Lindsay Water Colour Book 1939, Paintings in Oil: Norman Lindsay 1945, Norman Lindsay: Pencil Drawings 1969 and Norman Lindsay: Selected Pen Drawings 1968. We have recently noticed pages from our own Watercolour and Oil Books now appearing on eBay being described as Norman Lindsay prints.
The difference between a page from a book and an original Bookplate is significant. A Bookplate or ex libris is a label identifying the owner of a book. It is usually adhered inside a book's front cover or to its front end paper. Many Bookplates are decorative. They often bear a coat of arms (with or without a family motto) or some other design personal to the owner. Bookplates are sometimes called "ex libris," because this Latin phrase meaning "From the books of . . ." traditionally appears on Bookplates. Modern Bookplates often carry images or text praising books or scholarly pursuits. Bookplates may contain a phrase, chosen by the owner, inscribed somewhere in the design, or the message may be purely visual.
It could be viewed that to describe a page from a book as a Bookplate print may breach section 55 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 which states: A person shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, the manufacturing process, the characteristics, the suitability for their purpose or the quantity of any goods.
It could also be argued that any seller who insists that a page from a book is a Bookplate Print is attempting to ‘sex up’ their item in the hope of gaining a sale and therefore is in breach of the Act. Norman did create a number of Bookplates during his life so it is misleading to align pages from books with his real Bookplates.
Bookplates have long been identified with bibliophiles (lovers of books, collectors of books). The earliest Bookplates appeared in Germany a few years after the invention of movable type. Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528) and Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/8-1543) designed and engraved several Bookplates. The earliest known American plate may be the one for Stephen Daye in 1642. Paul Revere (American, 1735-1818) was well known for his Bookplate engravings, as was Nathaniel Hurd (American, 1730-1778). The practice of designing Bookplates flourished throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
Norman’s first known Bookplate was a woodcut for his friend Hugh Conant in 1897. In 1898 he made a Bookplate for another friend JSC Elkington, and followed with a gift of a second in 1899. All told Norman produced fifty-two Bookplates, working mainly in woodcut and pen and ink, only seven were etched. Odana Editions has reproduced the Rose Lindsay Bookplate as a limited edition facsimile etching which is currently available. Clearly, there is a great deal of difference between Norman Lindsay Bookplates and pages from books that contain reproductions of Norman’s works.
Incorrect use of the term Bookplate Print is not exclusive to eBay sellers. It is also found to be incorrectly applied to reproductions offered by other internet auction sites and auction houses. Whilst it is not illegal to pull apart books to sell the individual pages one must question the ethics of those who carry out and endorse such a practice.
Placing a value on a page from a book is subjective but it can be reasoned through thus. When the book is pulled apart neither it nor its component parts are now complete and as such the value of each part is questionable. Many say that the value of such a work is in the frame only.
Some sellers have stated that it is allowable to use the term Bookplate incorrectly if the price of the item is low. This demonstrates a very poor level of professionalism and should not be accepted as an excuse. We have often noticed that pages from books are also being described via the printing process that created them such as Hand Gravure, Collotypes or lithographs. Such a description may accurately describe the process by which the pages were printed but it does not change the fact that the item is still nothing more than a page from a book.
A number of online auction sellers are calling the six etching reproductions in the 1928 publication of Satyrs and Sunlight ‘Hand Engravings’. This may lead the bidder to believe that the images were engraved by hand by the artist which is not the case. The description in the publication refers to them as Hand Gravures which is a different process to Hand Engraving. The six etching reproductions in Satyrs and Sunlight were reproduced by the Hand Gravure process, which is a process of photographing the original work and then using the negative to create a cylindrical plate for the printing press. However, the online auction bidder should understand that these images are essentially still a page cut out of a book.
Hand gravure is an itaglio process, similar in principle to etching. The gravure plate is made photographically. First, a continuous-tone (unscreened) positive film (or set of separate films for colour work) is made from the original art. If type is to be combined with images, the typematter is photographed onto line negative, and a contone negative of the image produced. Both type and image are then printed onto a combined positive screen. This film is then transferred to a gelatin transfer medium which has been previously screened with a 150 line glass screen. During exposure of the gelatin through the film positive, the light passing through the non-printing and pale areas of the image causes the gelatin to harden. The gelatin transfer is then laid around an electroplated steel cylinder and developed to wash away any soft areas of gelatin. This results in gelatin of a thickness corresponding to the tonal values of the image. Subsequent etching with ferric chloride penetrates the metal to a depth determined by the resistance of the gelatin coating. The result is the production of cells of differing depths. Deep cells are produced where the gelatin is thinnest and shallow cells where the image is of a light tone.
When the plate is ready, liquid ink is applied and the paper is fed through the press on rubber-covered cylinders. To produce the prominent plate mark the page is re-run through the press against a blank or blind metal plate. The Hand Gravure process requires a skilled printer to achieve an accurate plate.
The gravure process is superior to the lithographic process for producing high quality reproductions. The gravure process was chosen to produce the etching reproductions in the 1928 edition of Satyrs and Sunlight because it would reproduce the etchings most accurately. However, the gravure process is tedious and expensive and is the reason that the other works in the publication were reproduced using the collotype process.
The term Hand Engraving does not appear in this publication or the promotional material that was produced at the time. Therefore, to use the term Hand Engraving to describe these six reproductions is misleading.