Scene Through Wood celebrates one of the most astonishingly skilful and richly creative forms of visual art, wood engraving.
Curated by Anne Desmet, the exhibition marks 100 years since the founding of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920. It includes works from the Ashmolean Museum's outstanding collection of prints, plus loans from private collections by leading artist-engravers from the 1790s right up to the present.
The wood engravings range from Romanticism, modernism and abstraction to extraordinary photo-realistic works. It demonstrates the endless versatility of the medium which has been used to depict the whole theatre of life, from work and play, war and hardship, designs for industry and typography, to natural landscapes and dazzling scenes of inner cities.
Included are well-known names such as William Blake, Samuel Palmer, MC Escher and Peter Blake, plus many women artists including Gertrude Hermes, Gwen Raverat and Edwina Ellis whose outstanding works deserve to be better known.
A specially curated selection of wood engravings by Reynolds Stone from the collections at Dorset Museum will also be on display. An illustrator, painter, designer and typographer, his work spans the natural world and commercial design. Pastoral scenery based on close observation was the subject of much of Stone’s work. He is also well known for his lettering inspired by the Renaissance and formal elegance of Eric Gill.
The exhibition has been organised by the Ashmolean Museum and the University of Oxford.