King's College London
Online Exhibitions
From woodcut to photograph: techniques of book illustration

Lithographic prints

Colour lithographic print entitled 'The return', showing men of Tristan da Cunha rowing a longboat and approaching an islandColour lithographic print entitled 'The return', showing men of Tristan da Cunha approaching the island on a longboat. © DACS 2014This illustration is one of seven colour lithographic prints capturing life on Tristan da Cunha by the Swedish artist Roland Svensson (1910-2003). The remote territory consists of a group of small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, of which only the largest is inhabited.

The island was first settled in the early 19th century and annexed by Britain in 1816. Following a volcanic eruption in 1961 all 270 inhabitants were evacuated by sea to England.

Although the Colonial Office saw the evacuation as permanent, the islanders lobbied to return to their homes, following positive reports from a Royal Society expedition which assessed the impact of the eruption.

In 1963 Svensson accompanied the islanders on their long journey home on the Danish vessel, the Bornholm. His drawings and the account from his diary convey his personal impressions of life on the remote island.

The lithograph shown here, entitled ‘The return,’ captures the Tristan men approaching the island on their longboat. The lithograph was drawn on stone by Svensson in a chalk style and printed directly from the stone by Rolf Jansson.

This print is numbered 65 of 75 and signed by the artist. The portfolio to which it belongs is part of a special edition of 75 copies created specifically for libraries and for the press. Our holding was inscribed by the artist to the Commonwealth Office. The portfolio was also published in a Swedish edition (300 copies) and in a signed and numbered English edition (300 copies).

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