Founded by the Rev John Curwen in 1863, originally as a sheet music publisher, it evolved from its base in Plaistow in London to become one of the first institutions to produce prints by pioneering graphic artists in the early 20th century.
The studio remained at the cutting edge under the direction of master printmakers Kip Gresham and Stanley Jones and, in 1977, an exhibition of the Curwen archives was held at the Tate.
Having moved to Cambridgeshire in 1989, the business was bought by the caravan manufacturer Sam Alper.
Following his death in 2002, the studio eventually moved back to London in 2014 after it was bought by a new owner.
Many works from the Curwen archive, however, remained with Alper’s family and his widow consigned a large group of prints to Cambridge saleroom Cheffins (24.5% buyer’s premium) last year. Initially a 116-lot offering was held in August, while a second tranche was sold in a timed online sale that closed on March 21.
The top lot across the two sales came at the latter event: two signed and numbered lithographs of Paris by Peter Coker (1926-2004) which were estimated at £150-250 and sold at £550.
A keen printmaker as well as painter, he produced many views of France over a long period and in different styles, dating from his first trip to Paris in 1950 until the final years of his life. From editions of 95 printed in 2004, these two works were based on paintings Coker completed in 2002 and were among the final prints released in his lifetime.