Carter, Frederick (1885-1967)

Painter and etcher born in Bradford, Yorkshire. He abandoned an early career as a surveyor and engineer but studied art in Paris, 1904, Antwerp, 1909-10 and London 1908-11, where he learnt his etching techniques under Frank Short. He showed at the RA, ROI, NEAC and was elected ARE in 1912. His artistic life before and after the World War I was centred around the Fitzroy Street area of London, and the Dieppe restaurant in Dean Street.

Carter was fascinated by the astrological and magical and became a mystic symbolist artist and associated with Aleister Crowley. He worked on illustrations for D.H. Lawrence’s book, ‘Apocalypse’, that had begun its life as an introduction to Carter’s own book, ‘Dragon of Revelations’, published 1932, and which Carter had sent to Lawrence in New Mexico. Lawrence was apparently attracted to Carter’s ideas and the two men met in Shropshire to discuss the collaborative venture.

In the mid-thirties, he exhibited his works at the Basilica Gallery at number 6, and his portrait of Lawrence (‘of Arabia’, which serves as frontispiece to a 1935 bibliography of his minor works by John Gawsworth) is dated from Cecil Court, March 1934.

Carter also worked closely with the occultist, Austin Osman Spare, to produce the journal ‘Form’. Carter wrote under the pseudonym ‘Francis Marsden’ and produced illustrations for the journal. His etchings and illustrations for the journal and other publications spurred him to write and illustrate his own books, published between 1926 and 1932.

His work is in the collections of the British Museum and V&A. A retrospective exhibition was held at the 20th Century Gallery, Fulham, London, 1998.

Frederic Carter ARE 1883-1967: A Study of his Etchings. By Richard Grenville Clark, Published by Apocalypse Press, 1998.
The Dragon of the Alchemists written and illustrated by Frederick Carter. Published by Elkin Mathews, London, 1926.
Manfred: A Tragedy by Lord Byron, illustrated by Frederick Carter. Published by Fanfrolico Press, London, 1929.

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