Cabinet 12


Even though JBW continued to receive about £250 per year from his father's estate in New Zealand, living costs in Britain after the war had risen. He needed more work, especially because the jobs he and Mary held during the war had finished, there was a move to a new apartment (10 Nevern Mansions), and their family had grown: Christopher (b. 1945), Richard (b. 1947), and Elizabeth (b. 1948). JBW did commercial work, including book designs, dust wrappers, book plates, and Christmas cards. The newly formed Folio Society (est. 1947) offered an outlet, publishing six books containing his illustrations. The Brooke edition, containing nine scraper-board drawings, was the first.

Rupert Brooke, Poems. London: Folio Society, 1948. Hocken: Bliss V5 Wri.


'Each time one looks at the beautiful highly polished surface of a new piece of boxwood one should set out with the thought that one has the whole of one's life in which to make one perfect engraving, so there is no need to hurry. And in actual fact it is not easy to do so. What with the natural limitations of the wood, the fact that one is working in reverse and with white on black, instead of the normal black on white, there are sufficient difficulties to overcome without imperilling any chance of success by working to time.' So wrote JBW in his Open Letter to an Editor on Wood Engraving (1940). Here is one of his sixteen wood engravings for Cabell's Jurgen; a superb result from an unhurried approach to the craft.

James Branch Cabell, Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice. London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1949. Special PS 3505 A153 J8 1949.


Charles G. Campbell was a major in the British army and noted Arabist who compiled and translated this collection of sixteen stories about Arab life. H. St. John Philby, the well-known Middle East expert, described this publication as 'a work which can fairly be called a masterpiece.' This second edition contains twenty-eight drawings by JBW.

Tales from the Arab Tribes: A Collection of the Stories told by the Arab tribes of the Lower Euphrates. London: Ernest Benn, 1949. Brasch GR 295.I7 C539.

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