This week’s lecture was Dr Christopher Buckland-Wright hosted by the Centre for the Book talking in Dunedin about his father John Buckland Wright, a New Zealand-born illustrator active in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

John Buckland Wright was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, before the turn of the Twenthieth century.  The Wright family of Redroofs had been one of the founders of the Wrightsons firm.  The family left New Zealand after the death of his father and settled in England.  Wright was educated at Clifden College in Bristol and at Rugby School.  His education was interupted as an ambulance driver in the Great War.  At the end of the war he returned to his studies at Magdelene College at Oxford and at the Bartlett School of Architecture.  His vocation was not in architecture and a grand tour of Europe took him to Europe where he joined with Alexander Stols in the creating and binding of the ideal book.  He worked in copper plate images moving from straight lines into swirls and curves.  In 1933 a crisis of confidence stopped him in his work.  He moved away from copper engraving, experimented with oil painting, and then into wood engraving.  He had a contract with Golden Cockerill Press that produced 14 books between 1936 to 1952.  During the Second World War Wright and his wife fled Europe from France, one step ahead of the advancing German forces.  Back in London he worked on a series of illustrations for Endymion.  Wright’s book, Etching and Engraving: Techniques and the Modern Trend remains a standard in its field.

He died suddenly in 1954 aged 56.  During a thirty year career Wright was producing a new design on average one per week.  Much of it was on the female human form.  He delighted in retaining sensitivity to the female model.

Pervigilium Veneris Plate 9, by John Buckland Wright.

Pervigilium Veneris Plate 9, by John Buckland Wright.

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