Back to Scholarship

Etched in Memory: The Elevated Art of J. Alphege Brewer

This book is the first illustrated study of the life and work of J. Alphege Brewer (1881-1946), the early 20th-century British artist who made his fame producing large, color etchings of European cathedrals and other historical buildings damaged or threatened during WWI. In both the United States and Great Britain, these etchings and reproductions were proudly hung on parlor walls in solidarity with the Allied cause and as a remembrance of the devastating cultural losses inflicted by the onslaught of war. Brewer's "à la poupée" technique, carried out in his studio workshop in Acton with the assistance of family members, required the plate to be painted entirely anew for each of the authorized 300-500 impressions. With the same "dab hand" at the end of his life, Brewer produced exquisite woodcuts of lakes, mountains, and other pastoral views. Chapters on Brewer's life story, techniques, and the artistic context for his war etchings are included, as well as a catalog of his known etchings. For more information and links to outlets where the book may be ordered, visit
Relevant research areas: North America, Western Europe, 20th Century, Etching