Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and her Late Prints

In her last decade Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004) produced an astonishing number of prints.  For her, making prints was a liberating experience, one in which she could play with screens to create complete series of images. New ideas sprang constantly from these variations. She came to move so swiftly, outpacing the printers with whom she collaborated, that several editions were unsigned at the time of her death while other images remained unprinted. These latter prints, all strictly mapped by the artist, came to be editioned posthumously to enable the completion of the publication The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham : a complete catalogue (Lund Humphries, 2007) by Dr Ann Gunn.

 Although Barns-Graham had made the occasional etching and linocut in her early years, it was screenprints made with Kip Gresham (Curwen Studio) in 1991 that can be seen as the true start of her life as a printmaker. In 1998, a significant turning point came with an introduction to Carol Robertson and Robert Adam of Graal Press. On technique, Robertson was able to offer her a more expansive range of possibilities due to her ground-breaking use of water based screenprinting inks. With Barns-Graham’s individual brush marks captured on acetate, these editions are truly an embodiment of the artist’s painting style. The first series was Time. This was so successful that she went on to collaborate with Robertson on further editions - Millennium, Sunghrie, Earth - concluding with the White Circle, Wind Dance and Water Dance (Porthmeor) series of 2002 and 2003.

Celebration at 90, 2002, printed to commemorate Barns-Graham's 90th birthday.

Availability of Prints

All of Barns-Graham's print editions are available to view through the Trust's online collections.

Due to the number and varying availability of Barns-Graham's print editions, the Trust releases a small selection of prints for sale at one time. We regularly update the selection available, but if you are interested in purchasing a print not currently for sale, we welcome you to contact us about its availability by emailing us at info@barns-grahamtrust.org.uk.


Purchasing Prints 

Which number from the screenprint’s edition will I receive? 

We will send you the next available number from the edition. This number will vary for each edition depending on how many have previously be sold and the size of the edition.  

Are the screenprints framed? 

No, we sell unframed screenprints only via the Trust’s website. We are happy to assist you with arranging framing prior to shipment to you. All costs associated with framing and increased shipping costs will be the responsibility of the customer. Please contact us at info@barns-grahamtrust.org.uk prior to purchase to discuss framing requirements and indicative costs. 

Why are some prints unsigned by the artist? 

Unsigned Editions 

It was not uncommon for Wilhelmina Barns-Graham to sign prints only as they left the studio. This practice was held widely by artists, either because they were not able to sign a full edition in one go, or prints were only printed to order (to save money on the printing and resolve issue of storing large numbers of prints). However, many of Barns-Graham’s last editions (Wind Series and Water Dance [Porthmeor] Series in particular) are unsigned as although they had been printed and delivered to the studio by the end of 2003, she died (in late January 2004) before she was able to sign them.  

Posthumous Editions 

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s late flourish as a printmaker arose from an introduction to Carol Robertson and Robert Adam of Graal Press in 1998. Having begun to re-explore printmaking in 1991, Barns-Graham, now 86, was to start a new and extraordinary body of work. In the five years before her death, she produced 66 prints! Of these, twenty-three were not printed in her lifetime – “Leave these for the moment. You can print these up once I’m dead” she instructed Robertson. After marking up the screens and clipping them together, they were set them aside while Barns-Graham moved swiftly on to the next designs. Between 2006 and 2007, on the instruction of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, this collection was printed in small editions of 25 in order to be included in Ann Gunn’s catalogue raisonée of Barns-Graham’s prints, published that year by Lund Humphries*. Each print is estate stamped on the reverse and the edition number marked on bottom front left corner.  

*Ann V Gunn ‘The prints of WILHELMINA BARNS-GRAHAM: a complete catalogue’, Lund Humphries 2007, ISBN-13: 978-0-85331-969-6