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Library Snapshot on Friday

July 12, 2013

I had not heard of Enid Marx until this week; when I received my latest acquisition from Amazon … The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century by Tanya Harrod.  The book a mighty tome had a beautiful jacket but is binding was fabulous; a bold pattern printed on linen designed by Enid Marx ( 1902-1998)

She was not, I understand, a household name in her lifetime but she was still working at 95 years old and had produced an astonishingly diverse and distinguished output of design; from book-jackets and ceramics to seat fabrics for the Tube.  

Enid Marx was educated at Roedean from 1914-1920, was a student at Central School of Art for a year and then moved to the Royal College of Art in 1922.  Later she began hand-printing textiles in her workshop over a cowshed on Hampstead Hill. From 1931-1933 she taught wood-engraving at Ruskin School, Oxford , with Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious: with whom she and Edward Bawden were closely associated in the ‘Curwen Group’.

During the last war she wrote and illustrated small books for children, printed on off-cuts from the normal book production.  She was also responsible for textiles for Utility Furniture.  In 1945 she was elected Royal Designer for industry.  From 1965-1970 she was Head of Department of Dress, Textiles and Ceramics at Croydon School of Art.

Apart from the wide range of her creative activities, from book-plates and postage stamps to Shell calendars and Zoo posters, Enid Marx was among the first to stimulate appreciation of English popular art.  Her pioneer work, ‘English Popular and Traditional Art’ written with Margaret Lambert was published in 1947.

I am looking forward to learning more about Enid Marx and visiting Compton Verney House and other venues where I understand examples of her ‘work’ is showing.   

So at least I can add to my meagre gallery! And will welcome ideas as regards viewing her vast collections

Images from An ABC of birds and beasts ; identified (with their diets and engraved by Enid Marx

the text hand-set in Berthold Wolpe’s Albetus’ and printed by Francis Cleverdon at the Trumpet Press, 1985.

English popular and traditional art by Margaret Lambert and Enid Marx

The crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century by Tanya Harrod 

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