Mr. J. (or S) Springsguth’s coloured etchings (1833) let you see what a variety of fossilised madrepores actually feels like.
Time has so nearly erased the biography of J. Springsguth that beyond that wonderful name there’s virtually nothing. “J” is John or Joseph. Perhaps.
The British Museum who hold 73 of his etchings does have a bio of sort for the obscure B-list etcher: “Printmaker; sometimes signs his prints S. Springsguth, Junior”.
That’s it. So what of the trace he did leave, his work?
Most of the time, “J” scratched and scraped out fairly run of the mill etchings to be frank; “Entrance of James I into England”, “A Shipwreck”, “South East View of the Nunnery of St Helen” etc., etc.. He also churned out those small oval portraits of the men of the day. Wallpaper.
“J” however, did leave behind something fascinating. In 1833, he produced a series of wonderfully coloured, spookily tactile etchings. Fossils of all varieties that we can almost reach out and touch.