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IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Gibbings, Robert

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Biography: Robert Gibbings (1889–1958) wood engraver, illustrator, publisher and author, was born in County Cork. After abandoning his studies in medicine, he attended the Slade School of Art, London, learning the technique of wood engraving from Noel Rooke (1881-1953). In 1920, with Rooke, Gibbings was one of the founding members of the Society of Wood Engravers, of which he remained an active member for many years. He was director and book designer of the Golden Cockerel Press from 1924 to 1933 and under his stewardship the press was celebrated for its limited edition handmade books. A distinguishing feature of Golden Cockerel Press books was their original illustrations, usually wood engraved by leading British artists of the day, including Gibbings, Eric Gill, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Eric Ravilious and Mabel Annesley. Gibbings' earliest wood engravings comprise strong contrasts of bold shapes and light, revealing a Cubist quality. His later designs are more textured and detailed, such as his illustrations for a series of river books, published in the 1940s. The series, text also written by Gibbings, includes ‘Sweet Thames Run Softly’ (1940), ‘Coming down the Wye’ (1942) and ‘Lovely is the Lee’ (1944).

Artist's gallery:

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