Sue Scullard – 27th July 2010 to 20th August

Wood Engravings by Sue Scullard
27th July 2010 to 20th August
Open evening Thursday 29th July 2010 7-9pm

Sue was introduced to wood engraving on endgrain boxwood at the Royal College of Art 28 years ago, and since then she has been making prints for illustration commissions and for exhibition. The small size and close grain of the woodblocks, with the fine lines made possible by the sharp engraving tools, lend themselves to detailed work. Inspirations include decorative subjects, landscape, gardens, animals, and architecture, and she is fascinated by subjects which give her the opportunity to explore the textures and patterns which can be made with the various engraving tools.

Born in 1958 in Kent, I studied illustration at Chelsea and Camberwell Schools of Art, where I became interested in linocutting, influenced by John Lawrence. I was introduced to wood engraving by Yvonne Skargon at the Royal College of Art in 1980, and became hooked. I started working as a freelance illustrator in 1983, using pen & ink and watercolour for topographical and children’s books, greetings cards and decorative images as giftware for the ceramic industry. I worked on the occasional project as a series of engravings, including contributions to one or two classic books for the Folio Society and some food packaging for Waitrose. Wood engraving, as well as a medium for commissioned illustrations, has been a means for making independent prints of subjects which explore my own enthusiasms. Decorative subjects, landscape and architecture are recurrent themes in my work, particularly trees, mountains, views from high places and traditional domestic architecture. I am fascinated by perspective, and I look for pattern and texture in a subject. Mountain walking and travel provide endless inspiration for future work, along with local subjects.

In 1984 I became a member of the Society of Wood-Engravers, and have exhibited with them regularly since then. I am also a member of The Sussex Guild , and I show my engravings at some of their craft events. I have demonstrated engraving at Art in Action and at Craft in Focus shows in recent years, printing my engravings by hand-burnishing with the handle of an old spoon. It is a form of printmaking which can be done in a domestic setting with very little equipment, and I have taken part in South East Open Studios, working at a friend’s studio.

Most of these images are engraved on endgrain boxwood blocks, which have a very smooth, dense and close-grained surface. Blocks cost approximately 40p per square cm, and tend to be small, so the expense, along with the fine cutting qualities of the tools, encourage a cautious and often detailed approach. Mistakes cannot be reversed – once a mark has been engraved it cannot be filled in again. I am quite short-sighted, and I find it comfortable to work without glasses, so it is difficult to resist the temptation to make my work very finely detailed.

I have work on show at the following galleries: the Crooked House Gallery in Lavenham, Suffolk; the Watergate Street Gallery in Chester; the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh; and Turtle Fine Art in Rye. I have participated in several group exhibitions over the years, most recently at the West End House Gallery, Smarden. I once had a print exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, in 1999, where the entire edition sold out. A selection of my engravings can be seen on my website at

Books I have illustrated with engravings include: The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott, for the Folio Society in 1985; contributions to the Folio Society Canterbury Tales in 1986; the Folio Shakespeare (Henry VI Parts I, II and III), also in 1986; the Lives of the Later Caesars in 2005; and Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson in 2009. I have also worked on a series illustrating the History of Information Technology as a private commission.

I have illustrated several children’s picture books with pen & ink and watercolour, and dozens of images for plates and mugs for Royal Worcester and Dunoon Ceramics, often on Christmas themes.