An Unframed Early 20thC Engraving ‘Temptation’; Attributed to Frederick Carter (1885-1967)

Origin: English
Period: Early 20th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1910-30
The Engraving: 12.5 inches x 10.5 inches
The Whole: 16 inches x 11.5 inches

In portrait form, the unframed intricate wood engraving or etching attributed to Frederick Carter (1885-1967), ‘Temptation’ mounted on thick period card, showing a large animated skeleton beating a drum over a ballerina and harlequin with an elderly beggar trailing behind and a hanging infant top right, the whole on a dark townscape background surviving from the first quarter of the twentieth century.

There is some creasing to the engravings edges in places mainly to the right side and light time tone. To the lower right there are pencil notations ‘Fredk Carter? Long Term’. The work is presented unframed though on period card and will be sold with the mid twentieth century bulldog clip shown to hang it.
Frederick Carter (1883-1967) was born in Bradford ,Yorkshire, England.  In the first world war Carter was a cartoonist but the horror of the war caused him to more or less cease etching until after 1918.  During the 1920s he formed a friendship with D.H.Lawrence who visited him in Pontesbury. In addition to his friendship with D.H.Lawrence, Carter knew Henry Miller with whom he corresponded for several years. Carter's polymathic talents extended to writing poetry, short stories, articles for newspapers and magazines, critical studies of writers like Lawrence, illustrating books and producing a large number of etchings, oils ,drawings and watercolours. A great believer in the power of the subconscious, Carter experimented with automatic drawing between 1915 and 1924, along with fellow symbolist Austin Osman Spare. He hoped that this might prove to be a means of releasing suppressed associations and images from the subliminal, through which he, like the early alchemists, might discover the essence of life itself.

Frederick Carter’s deep interest in alchemy and all aspects of the supernatural and the occult, led him to produce an esoteric symbolism which is apparent throughout his work, the type we see in this work. Nowhere is this displayed more clearly than in his works for The Dragon of the Alchemists. Frederick Carter provided little or no explanation regarding the significance of his imagery which combines symbols of established religion with those of mysticism and it is likely that he intended the meaning of many of his images to remain shrouded in mystery.

Hauntingly beautiful, darkly decorative.