Peter Blake's 'Alphabet' is both a tour de force of printmaking and a summation of so many of his artistic concerns. Thematically, the alphabet allows Peter to indulge in his passion for collecting letters and imagery, and yet the finite limits set by an A to Z are quite rigourous and restraining.
There is a limitation to working with the alphabet that is not present when working on a canvas where the possibilities are endless; with the alphabet words, objects, and pictures have their place and it becomes a happy antidote to painting.
As Peter says "I suppose I love lists. I love songs with lists, like 'These Foolish Things', which has a whole series of lists. And I love things that have a beginning and a very specific ending." Peter's fascination with and stimulation by letters, font and typography was already established by the time he had completed a year of a National Diploma in Graphic Design, just prior to going to the Royal College in 1953.
As with his other collage works, in the London series Blake creates hugely complex and humorous scenarios filled with characters and objects found in his personal collection of printed materials. The series contains several classic Blake motifs such as the circus, magic, crowds, dancing and butterflies, and showcases the sophistry of his compositional skills.