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Short, Francis Job

SHORT, FRANCIS JOB (1857- ), English engraver, was born at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, on the 19th of June 1857. He was educated to be a civil engineer, and was engaged on various works in the Midlands until 1881, when he came to London as assistant to Mr Baldwin Latham in connexion with the Parliamentary Inquiry into the pollution of the river Thames. He was elected an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1883. Having worked at the Stourbridge School of Art in his early years he joined the National Art Training School, South Kensington, in 1883. He also worked at the life class under Professor Fred Brown at the Westminster School of Art, and for a short time at the Schools of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colours. His real life-work now became that of an original and translator engraver. He was a keen student of.the works of J. M. W. Turner; and his etchings and mezzotints from Turner's Liber Studiorum (1885 seq.), wonderful examples of painstaking devotion and unrivalled skill, were among his earliest successes, showing the deepest sympathetic study of the originals combined with a full knowledge of the resources of engraving and unwearied patience. Short received the highest praise and constant advice and encouragement from Ruskin, and the co-operation of students of Turner such as Mr W. G. Rawlinson and the Rev. Stopford Brooke. After completing the series from the existing plates of Turner's Liber Short turned to the subjects which Turner and his assistants had left incomplete. Several fine plates resulted from this study, bearing the simple lettering " F. Short, Sculp., after J. M. W. Turner, R.A.," which told very little of the work expended on their production even before the copper was touched. Short also reproduced in fine mezzotints several of the pictures of G. F. Watts, " Orpheus and Eurydice," " Diana and Endymion," " Love and Death," " Hope," and the portrait of Lord Tennyson, all remarkable as faithful and imaginative renderings. His own fine quality as a water-colour painter made him also a sympathetic engraver of the landscapes of David Cox and Peter de Wint. His subtle drawing of the receding lines of the low banks and shallows of river estuaries and flat shores is seen to perfection in many of his original etchings, mezzotints, and aquatints, notably " Low Tide and the Evening Star " and " The Solway at Mid-day." Other plates that may be mentioned are:

" Gathering the Flock on Maxwell Bank," a soft -ground etching; " The Ferry over the Blyth," " Walberswick Pier," soft -ground; " Dutch Greengrocery," " Noon on the Zuider Zee," " Deventer," " Strolling Players at Lydd," " An April Day in Kent," and " Staithes," all etchings; " A Wintry Blast on the Stourbridge Canal," " Peveril's Castle," and " Niagara Falls," dry points; " The Curfew," " A Span of old Battersea Bridge," and " Sunrise on Whitby Scaur," aquatints; " Ebbtide, Putney Bridge," " The Weary Moon was in the Wane," " Solway Fishers," " The Lifting Cloud," and " A Slant of Light in Polperro Harbour," mezzotints. Short was elected A.R.A. in 1906 when the rank of associate-engraver was revived. As head of the Engraving School at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington, he had great influence on younger engravers. Short was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1885, and took a prominent part in conducting its affairs. In 1910 he succeeded Sir Seymour Haden as president. He received, amongst other distinctions, the gold medal for engraving at the Paris International Exhibition, 1889, and another gold medal (Rap pel) 1900.

The Etched and Engraved Work of Frank Short, by Edward F. Strange (1908), describes 285 plates by the artist. (C. H.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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