Ackroyd frequently uses the aquatint method of etching in which powdered rosin is applied to a heated copper plate to provide a fine 'ground' for the design. Through repeated immersion of the plate in acid for varying lengths of time, the technique allows for the creation of subtle degrees of tone as can be seen in his evocative and atmospheric image of a cormorant in a typical Thames-side location.
This etching is from London Birds, a set of nine prints published in 1994 by the Byam Shaw School of Art to raise funds for its student scholarship and bursary fund. The participants generously donated their work and the portfolio was printed in an edition of eighty. The contributing artists were asked to contribute an image reflecting one of the birds of London. The purpose was not to produce an ornithological record but to provide a unifying theme through which the individual temperaments and styles of this group of distinguished artists could be expressed.
The portfolio was purchased for the University by the Friends of the Mead Gallery.