Cabinet 01


A pensive-looking JBW, aged 29.

John Buckland Wright, Brussels, 1926. Private Collection.


This limited edition book on John Buckland Wright's (JBW) engravings was published to coincide with a major exhibition of his work at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in 1990. Edited by JBW's son Christopher, it contains a biography and comprehensive catalogue of his prints and illustrated books, a chronology prepared by JBW's daughter Elizabeth, accounts of his work as a printmaker and book illustrator as well as reflective memoirs of him as a teacher by colleagues and students. Café Dansant No. II (1930) is a wood-engraving of an open-air café scene at the Bois de la Cambre, Brussels. Considering the image conveyed, it was a place undoubtedly enjoyed by JBW.

The Engravings of John Buckland Wright. Aldershot [England]: Ashgate Editions, 1990. Special NE 1147.6.B83 BX12.

Mary and JBW

While living in Brussels, JBW met Mary Bell Anderson, a Scots-Canadian musician. After an engagement of three years, they married. This photograph was taken on their wedding day, 30 December 1929, outside the British Consulate, Paris.

John and Mary Buckland Wright, 30 December 1929. Private Collection.

There was a Piper

About the early 1930's, JBW's American friend Quincy Porter wrote Twelve Songs for Helen, a work based on the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose. JBW was asked to produce coloured illustrations for the music sheets, of which only five were completed. In this instance, JBW used a scorper on the end-grain of the boxwood and hand-coloured the image using crayon. He also used crayon on There was a Piper (1931). He would return to more colourful images in the post-war publication Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (see cabinet 15).

Christopher Buckland Wright, Endeavours & Experiments. John Buckland Wright's Essays in Woodcut and Colour Engraving, Together with Other Blocks Remaining in his Studio. Upper Denby, England: Fleece Press, 2004. Special NE 1147.6 B83 BX11.

Guilty novice

This is one of ten acquatints JBW produced for the second volume of the Folio Society edition of Boccaccio's The Decameron, translated by Richard Aldington. It illustrates the second story on the ninth day; the abbess who, while chastising the novice nun for a liaison with her lover, has inadvertently thrown the trousers of her own lover on her head as a veil.

'The guilty novice in her timidity did not know what to reply', from Boccaccio's The Decameron. Vol. II. London: Folio Society, 1954. Private Collection.

Red Roofs

John Buckland Wright was born on 3rd December 1897 and lived at Redroofs, Dunedin. The two-storey brick mansion was designed by J. L. Salmond and built by JBW’s father Jack Wright, who was a director of Wright Stephenson and son of the founder of the company J. T. Wright. In 1913, it was purchased by the Salvation Army and used as a Maternity Hospital. Because the old house was classed structurally unsound, it was demolished in 1985. This made room for the present ‘Redroofs’ retirement home. 

Redroofs, Dunedin, c. 1906. Private Collection.

Red Roofs Hall

This interior photograph shows the entrance hall to Redroofs. The carpet (a blue one) has in its corners the lion design that was used as a logo for the firm Wright Stephenson, later Wrightson. The lion logo was discontinued in October 2005, when Wrightson merged with Pyne Gould Guinness to form PGG Wrightson.

Entrance hall to Redroofs, Dunedin, c. 1902. Private Collection.


These four catalogues were compiled for exhibitions organized by the London-based firm of Wolseley Fine Arts. The first three reflect important periods of JBW's life: his European stint in Brussels and Paris; his association with Christopher Sandford and Golden Cockerel Press editions; and his involvement with the Surrealist movement. The fourth - My Own Pleasure - has a more personal focus: engravings and etchings made by the artist for his own pleasure between 1925 and 1954.

John Buckland Wright (1897-1954): The Continental Years: Catalogue of a Touring Exhibition Exploring the Work of Buckland Wright as an Engraver and Illustrator during his Continental Years 1926-39. [1997]. Special NE 1147.6 B83 C66; John Buckland Wright (1897-1954): The Surrealist Years, 1934-1954: Paintings, Drawings and Engravings. [1999]. Special NE 1147.6 B83 S87; John Buckland Wright (1897-1954): The Golden Cockerel Years: Engravings made for the Golden Cockerel and Other Presses 1936-1954. (2001). Special NE 1147.6 B83 G64; John Buckland Wright (1897-1954): For My Own Pleasure, The Autonomous Prints: Engravings and Etchings made for the Artist's Own Pleasure between 1925 and 1954. (2003). Special NE 1147.6 B83 F67.

S87 G64

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University of Otago Master of the Burin: The Book Illustrations of John Buckland Wright, 1897 - 1954 <