What’s On
Centenary 2020

SWE main site

Proudly presenting Exhibitions, events and special publications to celebrate the centenary of The Society of Wood Engravers in 2020

The Society of Wood Engravers was founded on 27 March 1920

Scroll through the photos below as we pay homage to our Founders from 1920 and Chairpersons since 1984 who have helped create and steer the Society of Wood Engravers to success over the last 100 years.

Celebrate the present by remembering the past

Centenary Events

Scene through Wood: A Century of Wood Engraving

A special exhibition which takes place at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The private view on 27 March 2020 marks 100 years to the day since the Society was founded on 27 March 1920.

Products, Prints & Downloads

The SWE 2020 Calendar is £14

A special calendar celebrating the Society’s Centenary, featuring wood engravings by members from the past century.

To place an order, contact Nigel Hamway: njhamway@gmail.com

Include your full name and the address to send copies to. Please add £3 post and packing for one or two copies or £5 for three or more copies.

For electronic payments please use the reference CALENDAR2020

Please pay by BACS to:

The Society of Wood Engravers,
Account No. 00280772,
Sort Code 16-01-09

Or payment can be made by PayPal to: treasurer@woodengravers.co.uk

Prints for sale

Twenty sets for sale of three mounted and signed prints with booklet, commissioned specially to commemorate our Centenary.

Cost: £250 including post and packing. Price for overseas sales on request.

To order copies, contact Geri Waddington geri@geriwaddington.com

For electronic payments please use the reference CENTENARY PRINTS

A plea from the Treasurer: to avoid delays please keep separate your orders, and payments, for cards, prints or subscriptions. This will save many seasonal headaches.

Please pay by BACS to:

The Society of Wood Engravers,
Account No. 00280772,
Sort Code 16-01-09

Or payment can be made by PayPal to: treasurer@woodengravers.co.uk

Or send a cheque made payable to ‘The Society of Wood Engravers’ to:

Geri Waddington,
Hollow Hole Barn,
Binegar Lane,
Gurney Slade,
Radstock,
Somerset BA3 4TR

Nineteen wood engravers, one collector and the artists who inspired them.

Compiled and with an introduction by Nigel Hamway

Twenty years ago Nigel Hamway wandered into the SWE annual exhibition in Oxford. Hilary Paynter and Pete Lawrence were invigilating. By the end of the day he was not only treasurer of the Society, but he had established friendships which are growing to this day. For 2020 Vision Nigel has asked nineteen of his favourite engravers to choose a major artistic influence, write an introduction about why they feel this way, and, wherever possible, to work on a new engraving which sits side-by-side in the book with an engraving or illustration by their ‘inspirer’.

The result, printed by Nomad Letterpress at the Whittington Press, places the engravings of twentieth century greats Farleigh, Nash, Poole, Wales, Hermes et al. alongside today’s artists, and presents the viewer with a snapshot of the changing nature of the engraver’s craft. Patrick Randle has written a preface about the challenges of working with the engravings and the different approaches to wood, make-ready and inking required for each block.

Published in 2020 to mark the Centenary of the Society of Wood Engravers, this is a unique collection, linking past with present, and a fitting tribute to the skills of
the engravers and the part played by the society in the history of wood engraving.

Publication Details

325 × 250 mm, 100 pp, printed using Perpetua on Zerkall mould-made paper in an
edition of 400 copies of which:

  • 350 C copies are half-bound in cloth & printed papers.
    In a slipcase. £185 (pre-publication).
  • 30 B copies, half-bound in Oasis leather & printed papers, come
    with a portfolio containing both sets of engravings. In a slipcase.
  • £750 (pre-publication).
  • 20 A copies, bound in full Oasis leather, come with a portfolio
  • containing a complete set of engravings. This copy is accompanied by a second book.

The Collector’s Cut features many of the stand-out engravings of the last century—works by Jones, Leighton, Ravilious, Nash, P Lawrence, Gibbings—are printed from the original blocks onto Japanese Sunome Senka mould-made paper and bound in half-leather.

Both books and portfolio are enclosed within a Solander box. Around £2,000.

A full list of engravers and engravings featured in all editions of Vision 2020 can be found at www.nomadletterpress.com

To register your interest or make a reservation at the pre-publication price please contact:

Nomad Letterpress
The Whittington Press,
nr Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire GL54 4HF

email: anna@nomadletterpress.com

ISBN: 978 1 85428 124 1
Publication date: March 2020

The early history of the Society of Wood Engravers, 1920–46

Simon Lawrence
Introduced by Joanna Selborne

On St Bartholomew’s Day 1920 St Dominic’s Press published a simple handmade book by R. John Beedham on wood engraving, and Eric Gill supplied an introduction. 1920 marked the beginning of the period when the artist-engravers saw themselves as a distinct group of artists, working together in a new way to produce something recognisably worthwhile. Our present-day vibrant Society celebrates its Centenary in March 2020, because five months before Beedham’s book appeared, seven engravers met in Philip Hagreen’s studio to form what became the Society of Wood Engravers, with its purpose being defined to mount exhibitions devoted to ‘woodcutting and engraving by the European method’.

The two pre-war decades saw a tiny group, never more than 20 Members and a small number of Associates, struggling to sell enough work to keep going, and struggling against the wiles of several London galleries. Their prints were brilliant but the backroom story is one of insecurity.

The Society’s first three Minute Books still survive, along with a good chunk of correspondence, its press cuttings album and its annual exhibition catalogues. All will be published here for the first time along with potted artistic biographies for most of the artists involved, in TWO volumes, with an Introduction by Joanna Selborne on the early days of the Society of Wood Engravers, and each of the four sections will be introduced by Simon Lawrence. Accompanying these will be about 300 illustrations of the prints exhibited by the SWE and its offshoot the English Wood Engraving Society, in their many exhibitions. It will be the single primary source for future research.

Those who know Fleece Press books will appreciate the extensive work that goes into each book – I have travelled from Penzance to Glasgow for this one, and it will be an extremely important book. Publication is set for September 2020, in an edition of 500 copies, of which 150 will have extra engravings bound in, by a range of artists including David Jones, John Nash, Reynolds Stone, Gertrude Hermes, John Farleigh, Blair ughes-Stanton, John O’Connor, Winifred McKenzie, Alison McKenzie and others, with a beautiful frontispiece by Clifford Webb. Further details will be available in the new year, and early subscribers will have their names included in the book.

Simon Lawrence,
The Fleece Press,
95 Denby Lane,
Upper Denby,
Huddersfield HD8 8TZ

tel. 01226 792200
email: simon@fleecepress.com

A re-creation by Miles Wigfield at the Reading Room Press of the first Society exhibition poster. The story of how the original poster was tracked down was told by Brian Byrne in Multiples Number 32, November 2016.

350 × 250mm, printed in four colours. 100 copies for sale at £10 each plus £2 post and packing.

To order copies, contact Pete Lawrence peter.a.lawrence@btinternet.com

For electronic payments please use the reference 1920POSTER. Please pay by BACS to:

The Society of Wood Engravers, Account No. 00280772, Sort Code 16-01-09 Or payment can be made by PayPal to:

treasurer@woodengravers.co.uk

Or send a cheque made payable to ‘The Society of Wood Engravers’ to:

Peter Lawrence,
48 Lonsdale Road,
Oxford OX2 7EP

A plea from the Treasurer: to avoid delays please keep separate your orders, and payments, for cards, prints or subscriptions. This will save many seasonal headaches.

Centenary Cake by Jenny Portlock

The Society of Wood Engravers proudly presents a specially commissioned, stand alone, print in celebration of 100 years of the Society, and what better way to enjoy our anniversary than with a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake? Artist Jenny Portlock has brought us an image which is full of joy and delight.

Image size:   210x135mm
Paper size:    326x232mm
Printed onto 300gsm Arches 88 paper.

Copies available @ £85 which includes postage and packaging

To own your own copy please contact Maggie Storm   multiples.editor@woodengravers.co.uk

For electronic payments please use the reference CAKE.
Please pay by BACS to:
The Society of Wood Engravers, Account No 00280772, Sort Code 16-01-09
Or payment can be made by PayPal to: treasurer@woodengravers.co.uk
Or send a cheque made payable to ‘The Society of Wood Engravers’ to:
Maggie Storm, 55 Gosport Road, Stubbington, Hampshire PO14 2AW

A plea from the Treasurer: to avoid delays please keep separate your orders and payments for cards, prints or subscriptions. This will save many seasonal headaches