Limited Edition Facsimile Etching
31.7 x 25.2 cm
Reference: Norman Lindsay Etchings: Catalogue Raisonné (Odana Editions and Josef Lebovic Gallery, 2006, cat.138)
For years Norman had been intrigued by the legendary sunken city of Atlantis. Of all the vanished civilisations it is arguably the most contentious; scholars from antiquity to the present have debated its existence. Plato wrote two treatises about the lost island and in one, Critias, he positioned it to the west of the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar) on the Atlantic coast near Cadiz. Latter-day German scholars as meticulous as Richard Henning and Adolf Schulten have insisted that Plato’s description of Atlantis is based on concrete facts.
Norman may have read Edgar Allan Poe's descriptive poem 'The City in the Sea':
There shrines and palaces and towersNorman even introduced his daughters Jane and Honey to the legend. In 1928 Rose added an amusing anecdote in a letter to Andrew Watt:
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
Norman is this minute giving the kids their lessons … he is giving them from the time of Atlantis. I get much fun from hearing them telling the cook and the nurse all about how it was sunk and so forth. The cook said ‘I’ve never heard of the place’.
Norman wrote a ‘thesis’ on Atlantis which he published in The Scribblings of an Idle Mind. In a postscript he mentioned an exchange of letters with Leonard Cottrell, amateur archaeologist and eminent author of books on ancient civilisations. Cottrell said that archaeologists had never discovered any factual evidence of the existence of Atlantis and, therefore, he had no belief in the myth. Norman etched Atlantis in 1925 and although it is mentioned in Rose’s record book, apparently the plate failed and it remained unpublished.