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F. L. Griggs

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Template:Infobox Artist Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs, RA, RE (30 October 1876 – 7 June 1938) was a distinguished English etcher, architectural draughtsman, illustrator, and early conservationist, associated with the late flowering of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Cotswolds. He was one of the first etchers to be elected to full membership of the Royal Academy.

Born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, he worked as an illustrator for the Highways and Byways series of regional guides for the publishers, Macmillans. In 1903 he settled at Dover's House, in the market town of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, and went on to create one of the last significant Arts and Crafts houses at 'New Dover's House'. There he set up the Dover's House Press, where he printed late proofs of the etchings of Samuel Palmer, amongst others. He collaborated with Ernest Gimson and the Sapperton group of craftsmen in architectural and design work in the area.

The etchings

'Fred' Griggs converted to Catholicism in 1912, and set about producing an incomparable body of etchings, 57 meticulous plates in a Romantic tradition, evoking an idealised medieval England of pastoral landscapes and architectural fantasies of ruined abbeys and buildings.

His best known etchings include 'Owlpen Manor' (1930), dedicated to his friend, the architect Norman Jewson, 'Anglia Perdita', 'Maur's Farm', 'St Botolph's, Boston', 'The Almonry', and 'Memory of Clavering'. Collections of his etched work are held in the Ashmolean Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Boston Public Library, and in major public collections worldwide.

Legacy

Griggs was one of the finest and most respected etchers of his time. He was an influential leader of the British etching revival in the Twenties and Thirties, and "the most important etcher who followed in the Samuel Palmer tradition" (K.M. Guichard, British Etchers, 1977). He occupies a pole position in the Romantic tradition of British art: he links the world of Blake, Turner and Samuel Palmer to a younger generation of neo-Romantic artists, including Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Robin Tanner and Joseph Webb.

Bibliography

  • Francis Adams Comstock, A Gothic Vision: F.L. Griggs and his Work (Oxford and Boston, 1966, 1978 reprinted)
  • Russell G. Alexander, The engraved work of Frederick Landseer Griggs, etchings and drypoints, 1912-28 (Shakespeare Head Press, 1928)
  • Jerrold Northrop Moore, F.L.Griggs: The Architecture of Dreams (Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • Jerrold Northrop Moore, The Green Fuse: Pastoral Vision in English Art 1820-2000 (2007)
  • Harold J.L. Wright, The Etched Work of F.L. Griggs with a Catalogue by Campbell Dodgson (Print Collectors' Club, 1941)
  • T.A. Clark, Silences of Noons: The Work of F.L. Griggs (1876-1938) (Cheltenham, 1988)

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