If you're familiar with the work of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious you probably will know of the Brick House in Great Bardfield in Essex. This was their home, along with their wives, Charlotte and Tirzah, for a few years in the 1930s.
The illustrator and printmaker, Alice Pattullo, has recently created an ingenious and characterful fold-out replica of the house for Design For Today. With rooms filled with the objects you would expect to find from cats and patterned wallpapers to Bawden's printing press and cast iron bench, there's a wealth of detail. There's even a sheet of cut out extras including the two artists themselves looking rather like Gilbert and George.
Alice Pattullo is an illustrator and printmaker working in East London. Her work can be found at the V&A, The Higgins, John Soames Museum, Cecil Sharp House and in the pages of design and illustration magazines, Alice is inspired by the folk traditions of England and influenced by the mid-century printmaking of artists such as Edward Bawden and John Piper.
Design For Today was founded by Joe Pearson, an established collector and writer on mid-century lithography. As one of the country’s experts in his field Joe has given talks at several institutions such as the Double Crown Club, St Brides Printing Library, The House of Illustration and the University of East Anglia.
Find out more and purchase a copy of Brick House from Design For Today’s website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on July 1st, 2015
This Thursday (4th June) Christies will be auctioning an incredible collection of Shell posters which belong to Hugh Wickham, ex-head of marketing at Shell. It’s a long story with several twists and turns along the way, but all the proceeds from the sale of the posters are going straight to the Regeneration Fund of St John’s Church in Kingston-upon-Thames to help with the considerable cost of refurbishment.
The collection comprises 20 lots of approximately 42 posters from the Golden Age of Shell advertising and includes iconic images from artists and designers such as Edward Bawden, Ben Nicholson, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Richard Guyatt, John Armstrong, Abram Games, Tom Eckersley and Eric Lombers. They are mostly from the ‘You Can Be Sure of Shell’, ‘These people Use Shell’ and ‘To Visit Britain’s Landmarks’ campaigns and date predominantly from the 1930s, with a few from the 1950s. It really is a remarkable group with great provenance and it’s a great opportunity to acquire a piece of classic British advertising history.
To find out more visit the Christies website and look for lots 17 to 37.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 2nd, 2015
I was lucky enough to attend the opening of the major show of work by Eric Ravilious at Dulwich Picture Gallery, curated by James Russell, but the show deserved a second visit at a slightly quieter time.
I’ve always found Ravilious' work totally absorbing, whether his watercolours (which are the focus of this exhibition), his lithographs and wood engravings or his designs created for ceramics, glass and other commissioned work.
On my recent second visit to the exhibition it became so much clearer to me that these watercolours were made by a printmaker and designer. There's a sharpness and a clarity to the objects in his compositions and the palette is perhaps purposely restricted. Closer inspection reveals Ravilious is creating textures and patterns in the same way that he might when creating a lithograph.
It's hard to single out one single painting but a firm favourite would be 'Ship's Screw on a Railway Truck' (1940). Not a promising subject perhaps. The sculptural propellor gleams out from the blue and grey landscape. The top left had corner is a beautifully composed scene of ship moored by a curved harbour and tree which in itself would make a perfect engraving or motif on a Wedgwood plate. In the foreground there's a playful pattern of footprints in the snow and in the grey sky above, soft white snow flakes and diagonal marks depict this bleak winter scene in the same way that Ravilious might have drawn on a lithographic stone.
James Russell has brought together watercolours of landscapes, interiors, still lifes and Ravilious' work as a war artist too. There’s much to see that I think a third visit is definitely on the cards.
'Ravilious' is at Dulwich Picture Gallery until 31st August 2015. Visit their website for full details.
And find out more via curator James Russell's website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on June 1st, 2015
Those visiting Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton’s recent Open Studio event in York will have had a sneak preview of the new hand painted ceramic slip cast horses that Mark will be creating for his exhibition at York Art Gallery when it re-opens on the 1st of August 2015.
Mark will be curating and creating The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures which will feature objects from across York Museums Trust’s collections, including oil paintings, works on paper, taxidermy and social history.
Mark will also create new work in response to the objects including individually decorated ceramic slip cast horses made in response to the Leeds Horses in the collection.
We’ll be posting further details about the horses and Mark’s exhibition closer to the opening - do sign up for our e-mail newsletter if you’d like to find out more.
In the meantime, you might like to take a look at Mark's fabric and wallpaper designs for St Jude's.
Posted by Simon Lewin on April 27th, 2015
Our friends at Little Toller are soon to publish the first book about the artist and printmaker Rena Gardiner (1929-1999).
"Rena Gardiner dedicated her life to her art, doing so alone in a thatched cottage in the heart of Dorset. Combining the great tradition of British topographic artists with the rich era of autolithography of the 1940s and 1950s, she created her own very personal and individual visual style. An unsung heroine of printmaking, uninterested in publicity or fame, she created an artistic legacy that is instantly recognisable for its exuberant use of colour and texture."
Find out more about Rena Gardiner and the book from the Little Toller website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on March 24th, 2015
I was delighted to be asked by Country Living magazine to create a mug to celebrate their 30th anniversary.
This limited edition mug has been handmade and hand decorated by Burleigh at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.
The mug features on the cover of the magazine's April 2015 issue and inside you'll find a feature on our home and studio in the Scottish Highlands, photographed by Cristian Barnett who I've had the pleasure of working with before on two short films, including this one looking at the making of my Nature Table wallpaper.
You can find out more about the Country Living mug from their General Store.
Posted by Angie Lewin on February 28th, 2015
As we finalise details of our next Jonny Hannah exhibition in Edinburgh, we thought we'd take the opportunity to share a few photos from Jonny's 2010 exhibition at our former gallery in North Norfolk, "A Bed of Sea and Dead Men's Suits".
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 4th, 2015
We're off to North Uist for the first time later this year. Was rummaging in a second hand bookshop and came across this, with a cover featuring designer Ashley Havinden's 'Ashley Script' typeface which is still available digitally.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 26th, 2015
We were delighted to receive a set of chapbooks from Desdemona McCannon, produced as part of her 'Women In Print' project.
Each celebrates the work of a woman who has inspired the designer of these risograph printed publications.
The set we have features Enid Mark (by Desdemona McCannon), Sheila Robinson (by Chloe Cheese), Pearl Binder (by Alice Pattullo), Barbara Jones (by Rosemary Shirley), Peggy Angus (Carolyn Trant) and Olive Cook (by Lotte Beatrix).
We asked Desdemona to tell us more about the project...
"Over the last few years I have started a collection of books by 20thc women designers I admire - people like Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Pearl Binder, Peggy Angus, Lettice Sandford, Dorothy Hartley - who alongside being 'jobbing artists' also wrote (and illustrated) books about folk culture, craft skills and 'popular' art'. Initially I was interested in the ways their research and writing was folded back into their creative practice, but as the collection grew, I became more and more fascinated by the idea of 'print culture'- the ways that publishers and art directors, printers and booksellers as well as authors and artists are entangled in a huge web of connections. I became hooked on the idea that, as Elisabeth Eisenstein says, print itself can be 'an agent of change'.
The main catalyst for setting up Women in Print was seeing a photo in a book, I forget which one, of Tirzah Ravilious on a step ladder with a paintbrush in her hand, in the process of putting paint on a wall, with Eric Ravilious standing by looking down, and the caption underneath saying 'Eric Ravilious painting a mural'. I realised that there was a silence around these women in the way histories were being told, a huge blind spot when it came to celebrating their achievements.
So the point of the Women in Print network is to focus attention on women who deserve to be better known, and their contribution to 'print culture'- as writers, academics, artists, art directors, publishers, journalists, printmakers and illustrators. This happens through an ad hoc series of events, enjoyable study days with speakers and discussions. Alongside this there is a growing set of tribute chapbooks. Anyone can contribute to the series. If they know of a woman they would like to celebrate, I send them the template and they send the (two colour) artwork and text back. I print them up on the risograph machine at Manchester School of Art with the help of students at the college, and we sell them and give them out at the Women in Print events, in the spirit of radical pamphleteers! Lots of really interesting artists, writers and academics have contributed to the series already... Alice Patullo did a beautiful one for Pearl Binder, and Carolyn Trant made one about Peggy Angus who she knew well. Chloe Cheese made one about her mother Sheila Robinson too. I would love for there to be a whole shelf of them one day.
Over the last 18 months there have been three fascinating days of talks about the different ways that women contributed to print culture in the 20thc, the first at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, the second at MMU Special Collections in Manchester, and the third at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne to accompany the Peggy Angus exhibition there. Speakers have ranged from Professors to recent graduates, researchers into design history and daughters of the designers themselves. The days attract a mixed audience too, which has been wonderful. Artists, academics, people interested in craft, ex librarians, collectors, and the odd husband quietly trying to sleep in the corner. There have been biographical talks about individual women- people like Peggy Angus and Pearl Binder, Susan Clough Ellis and Sheila Robinson, but also fascinating insights into publishing and visual culture of the period, for example Natalie Kay Thatcher recently gave a blinding talk about the Perry Colour Books at the Towner event.
There are more Women in Print days coming up- one in Boscastle next April looking at 'witchcraft in the popular press 1920- 1990' - inspired by a visit to the wonderful library at the museum of witchcraft there. Several people have already offered to give talks about Doreen Valiente, Ruth Manning Sanders, Margaret Murray and Ithell Colqhoun. The call for papers is still open, with further information available online, and so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in.
It's really heartening that Chloe Cheese has recently written a book about her mother's work, and that Ann Ullman is writing about her mother Tirzah Ravilous too... there are some other projects in a similar vein in the pipeline too. It feels like an exciting time, a chance to have another go at writing the history of the period, and points to the continued potency of print in shaping the cultural landscape. What I find most most enjoyable is the enthusiasm and generosity of all the people involved- that a shared love of print has enabled these connections too."
Desdemona McCannon was born in Liverpool and studied English Literature at Bristol University before going on to train as an illustrator in Liverpool and Brighton. She is interested in investigating popular and vernacular art forms through organising events, curating exhibitions, writing articles, editing the Journal of Illustration and making work. She is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Find out more
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 9th, 2014
Just published by Merrell is Jonny Hannah's wonderful 'Greetings from Darktown - An Illustrator's Miscellany', the first book devoted to the work of this popular illustrator, printmaker and painter.
Born and bred in Scotland, Jonny Hannah now lives by the sea in Southampton, but he also resides in Darktown – a mysterious coastal town, not found on any map, peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors. Darktown is home to the Unquiet Grave junk emporium; the Mermaid Café, where folk legend Woody Guthrie still plays each week; McVouty’s vintage clothes shop; and a pier with a condemned helter skelter. Joining Hannah on his trip to downtown Darktown are the writers Philip Hoare and Peter Chrisp, who explore the eclectic influences on Hannah’s work, and Sheena Calvert, who introduces a special typographic catalogue of hand-drawn lettering. As he tours Darktown, Hannah presents his prints and paintings in thematic chapters reflecting his passions, and bids farewell to his alter ego, Rocket Man, who inhabits the darkest corners of pop culture.
In April 2015 we'll be hosting an exhibition of Jonny's work in Edinburgh which will incorporate prints, paintings, music and spoken word. Sign up for our gallery newsletter for details.
And later in 2014 we'll be launching Jonny's first wallpaper for St Jude's, the follow up to his fabric The Captain's Pattern.
Posted by Simon Lewin on October 4th, 2014