Friday’s Library Snapshot … Arabian Fairy Tales by Amina Shah
I came across this book while browsing the shelves for more fairy tales, this one took my eye. The illustrations were so dramatic quite unlike any I had seen recently. The illustrator was George Buday (1907-1990) born in Kolozsar, Transylvania (then part of Hungary) where he studied art and graduated with a PHD in 1934. During this time he travelled to England where produced his first wood engravings. After learning about the work of the University Settlements in East London he became one of the founders of the Agrarian Settlement Movement in Hungary. He began teaching graphic arts at the Hans Joseph University and won a travelling scholarship to London in 1937 where he settled. During the war he worked as a broadcaster for the BBC, he also worked for the British Foreign Office; later in 1948-1949 was the Director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in London.
He continued wood engraving after his first visit to London and worked as a freelance illustrator; first in Hungary and then again in London.
In 1953 he acquired a Victorian Albion printing press on which he was able to print booklets, and broadsheets. He received commissions from Penguin Classics and Oxford Standard Authors series to print book-covers, title pages and frontispieces. He was particularly interested in folk art and traditional culture his research in these fields provided much material for his own works such as the History of Christmas Cards and the Little Books.
Although Buday did most of his work in England he was considered a European artist and of the Expressionist school, he has made a memorable contribution to the British school of wood engraving.