Washington Color Gallery focuses on Washington Color School and related artists as well as great print-making. The works by Gordon House are fine examples of truly excellent print-making, though they depict a world far from Washington, D.C.—weaving together compelling imagery, history, technical prowess, and imagination to create works of beauty.
House lived and worked in London all his adult life, but he always held a deep attachment to his native Wales. He once wrote, “On leaving the valley of my origin there has always been that pull to return.” In 1975, House bought a house in Penrhos on the Welsh borders which he visited nearly every weekend for the following decade. He described:
“The landscape from the house, which was raised above the fields sloping away, was probably as it had been for hundreds of years. To me it was even reminiscent of the background landscapes seen in Italian Renaissance paintings. In the distance one could see the higher, familiar ground, the beginning of the Brecon Beacons. Blorenge, Sugarloaf and Skirrid. Not quite as my childhood memories of the hilly Wales surrounding the industrial black valley further south, but for me it was still Wales.”
The local landscape and the characters he met there found expression in a multitude of paintings and prints, most notably The Welsh Portfolio from which this print comes. His vision of Wales encompassed memories of Wales from his early childhood and also the area’s historical and mythical past.
This picture, called Craig Ddu, which means Black Rock, refers to a Welsh limestone quarry. The black hole punched in the landscape, surrounded by tumbling rocks, speaks eloquently of the role of mines and quarries in Welsh life and history. Craig Ddu is located fairly close to the Black Mountains, which are limestone, mudstone, siltstone, and red sandstone, probably explaining the warm orange-red colors used in the print.