Gibbs, Evelyn

(1905 – 1991)

The Road, 1925

Signed in pencil and dated
Etching

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Estate

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 28.

Evelyn Gibbs’ Self-portrait, made whilst at the Royal College of Art in 1927, a year before she applied
for and won the coveted Rome Scholarship in Engraving, has much in common with, and might have
been inspired by, Henry Fuseli’s Self-portrait of 1770. Gibbs confidently shows herself at the start of
the process of producing a drypoint, the blank copper etching plate on which she is working soon to
become the self-portrait we are looking at. The drypoint medium, (made with a needle to create a soft
burr giving a characteristic velvety appearance), was a more immediate method of printmaking than
etching (where acid is used to deepen the lines on the plate). Generally fewer prints can be pulled in
the case of drypoint as the plate gets too worn. An etching, such as The Road, might typically be made
in an edition of up to 50 prints.

The Road resulted in her election as associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, in 1929, the
year she won her Rome Scholarship. A review described it as a beautiful little etching “The Road”, with
it’s emotional significance ‚Äì two tramps, a man and a woman are sitting crouched by the roadside, their
heads upon their knees, utterly tired out – but the sunny road winds on through banked meadows away
over the country . . . this etching promises well for Miss Gibbs’ future, more even than her accomplished
line engravings.’

We are grateful to Pauline Lucas and Clive Graham for assistance

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THE ARTIST

Gibbs, Evelyn

1905 – 1991

Evelyn Gibbs studied at the Liverpool School of Art (1922’26)
and at the Royal College of Art (1926’29). 

Credited with making significant gains for women in art and
academia, she was the second woman to win the Prix de Rome for
Engraving (1929) and was elected an associate of the RE in the
same year. 

In London, after returning from Rome in 1931, she taught at
a school for handicapped children and later wrote The Teaching of
Art in Schools
, which was published in 1934 ‘ the same year she
was appointed lecturer at Goldsmiths College. 

She founded the Midland Group of Artists in 1943 after
Goldsmiths was evacuated to Nottingham, and in that September
was commissioned as an official war artist to record Women making
Munitions
, working in Blood Transfusion and in the Women’s
Voluntary Service. Seven of the works made during this time are
held in the Imperial War Museum in London. In 1945 she married
Hugh Willatt, later Secretary- General of the Arts Council.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Evelyn Gibbs
The Chapel, 1928
£5,400.00
Evelyn Gibbs
The Chapel, 1928
£1,500.00
Evelyn Gibbs
The Graveside, 1928
£1,800.00