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The Department is delighted to announce that the winner of the third Department-UL Curatorial Competition is Part IIA student, Anna McGee

last modified Oct 26, 2016 12:01 PM
Her exhibition will run from 7 November to 3 December 2016 in the University Library’s Entrance Hall.
The Department is delighted to announce that the winner of the third Department-UL Curatorial Competition is Part IIA student, Anna McGee

Image Credit: Agnes Miller Parker / Cambridge University Library Digital Content Unit

"Agnes Miller Parker’s wood engravings: bringing the word to life"

Scottish printmaker Agnes Miller Parker (1895-1980) did not merely illustrate great works of literature, she enriched them. The exhibition will display the wood engravings she created for Aesop’s Fables, Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Shakespeare’s Richard II and Thomas Hardy’s most famous novels. Whatever the genre, Parker’s wood engravings brought the word to life.

The use of wood engravings as book illustrations initially lost popularity in the second half of the nineteenth century after the introduction of photomechanical methods of reproduction, which were cheaper and more efficient. However, by the early twentieth century the practice of wood engraving came back into vogue as the scope it provided for artistic expression was recognised. This resurgence was especially associated with the Private Press Movement.

Despite having received no formal training in the craft, Parker is widely considered the finest wood engraver of this artistic revival, for both the originality of her compositions and the virtuosity of her technique. She studied painting at the Glasgow School of Art and indeed often conceived her wood-engraving designs in colour, which helped her bring a remarkable tonal richness to the final product.