From Pencil to Proof to Press
These works by the Anglo-American artist Clare Leighton (1898-1989) come from a local a rarely seen private collection. Born in Great Britain, Leighton moved to America in 1939, residing first in Maryland, then North Carolina, and finally Connecticut. Discouraged by a war-torn Europe, she became a naturalized US citizen in 1945.
Leighton occupied a central position in the Arts and Crafts revival of British wood engraving and its related developments in America. While her book illustrations for other authors set a new standard to commercially produced literature, Leighton's own publications revived interest in early-to-mid-century rural culture. As the first woman to produce a book on the art of wood engraving -- the 1932 Wood-Engraving and Woodcuts, featured here -- Leighton played a key role in popularizing the medium. This exhibition complements a larger display of the artist's work at the University of Richmond's Harnett Museum of Art. The two venues feature different examples of Leighton's early watercolors and government posters, in addition to her better known wood engravings for novels by Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy as well as volumes on southern and New England country life.