Axel Haig (1835-1921). "St. Etienne Cathedral, Bourges." [France].
1911. 16 1/4 x 22 1/4. Etching. Signed in pencil. Ed:300. CL236.
Number preceded by “C&L” refers to the prints catalogued in the book Axel Haig and the Victorian Vision of the Middle Ages by J. Mordaunt Crook & C.A. Lennox-Boyd, 1984.
Axel Herman Haig (1835-1921) was born in Sweden. During his childhood he was fascinated with the sea and ships, and spent most of his time sketching seascapes and building model boats. His love of the sea lead him to study shipbuilding in Sweden and Great Britain. However, Haig grew tired of ship design and changed his emphasis to architecture. He was given the opportunity to design the residence of his employer in Glasgow. Haig’s employer was so pleased with the result that he secured Haig a job at a firm that specialized in church design. Later, Haig was employed by William Burges, a noted Gothic Revival architect, and Haig became one of the most noted architectural draughtsmen in Britain.
In 1875 Haig traveled to Sicily, Italy, and Germany to sketch the local scenery. Many of his etchings came from these early drawings. Haig did not begin etching until 1870 and he was for the most part a self-taught printmaker. The first exhibition of his etchings was in 1880, when his work was praised by many. It was in this same year that Haig, along with Francis Seymour Haden and others, founded the Royal Academy of Painters-Etchers and Engravers. Haig always distinguished between architectural drawings and drawings of architecture. In all of his etchings, Haig’s objective was to incorporate a balance between a romantic and a dramatic effect, but also to depict his subject as accurately as possible.