The Printed Line

An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition

This exhibition considers how artists have used a variety of printmaking techniques to exploit the potential of the printed line, from the thick velvety line of drypoint and the heavy cross-hatching of etching to delicate wood engraving and boldly coloured screenprints and lithographs.

Spanning the 20th century and up to the present day, the exhibition will include Walter Sickert's masterly cross-hatched etching The Old Middlesex (c.1910), Ben Nicholson's rich drypoint Halse Town 1949 (1949), Eduardo Chillida's bold etchings and David Hockney's pared down linear etchings in Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from C. P. Cavafy (1966-67). The use of colour will be explored in screenprints by Bridget Riley and Kenneth Martin, as well as Simon Patterson's witty lithograph reworking of the lines of the London tube map.


6 April – 2 June 2019, Torre Abbey Museum, Torquay

6 July - 8 September 2019, Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

21 September - 9 November 2019, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

16 November 2019 - 5 January 2020, Aberystwyth Arts Centre

11 January - 1 March 2020, Burton Art Gallery, Bideford 

19 September - 14 November 2020, City Museum & Art Gallery, Worcester

24 July - 10 October 2021, The Beaney, Canterbury 

23 October 2021 - 15 January 2022, Inverness Museum & Art Gallery 

19 February - 8 May 2022, The Granary Gallery, Berwick 

8 October 2022 - 5 February 2023, Hay Castle

18 February - 14 May 2023, The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum

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Explore this Exhibition

Professor Paul Coldwell presents an introduction to the four main printmaking techniques found in Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, The Printed Line, exploring the tools and techniques used and demonstrating the differing characteristics particular to each approach.


Using examples of artworks from the Arts Council Collection, including Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud and Rachel Whiteread, the film explores how each printmaking process makes different demands on the artist and allows for a huge range of approaches to mark-making.

An Arts Council Collection film produced with kind support of Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Featured Works

Le Grand Bois (1906)

Henri Matisse
Chance and Order V (1972)

Kenneth Martin
Linear Motif (1956)

Victor Pasmore

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

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