The information that comes into my world and on to this blog comes from either reading it or talking to people. Twice this weekend I have got my notebook out and scribbled down references about people. In the research, links are made and there is a spider’s web of connections until I am surrounded with books like a bird in a nest.
Margaret Bryan’s name appeared on Twitter, who was she and what had she done? Well there isn’t a lot of information out there but what I have amassed so far is this:
Margaret Bryan – The Deluge
Margaret Bryan was born in 1903. A Nottingham artist, most noted for her wood engravings. She was working from the mid-1920s to the late 1930s. After this point it is harder to find out information. During the 20s she appeared a few times in newspaper and magazine reviews of art shows but then it all stops. One can only guess married life and children slowed the pace of her work. In 1929 Margaret lived in Castle Road and was also traced to Lucknow Avenue, Mapperley Park, Nottingham. In 1947 she illustrated Henry Bell’s Children’s Almanac.
Margaret Bryan – After El Creco, 1931
Miss Margaret Bryan’s interpretations of Michelangelo and El Greco are far from incompetent. The Apollo – October, 1931.
The quote above comes from an exhibition where her work was shown beside Blair Hughes-Stanton and Gertrude Hermes. The show is likely to be from the short lived English Wood Engraving Society, a splinter group from the Society of Wood Engravers.; Their aim was to attract artists who were not solely interested in book illustration, but rather, wanted to make wood engravings that were independent of such an illustrative function.
Margaret Bryan – The Fisherman
Below are two pages from A Children’s Almanac, 1947. the simple pen drawings are layered with a simple one colour image overlay.
Margaret Bryan – Autumn, 1947
Margaret Bryan – Summer, 1947
It was another blogger who pointed the link between Bryan and the illustration for The Litter Gallery’s Christmas advert. In my time the illustration below has been attributed to Edward Bawden and Barbara Jones because it is designed with a B but I would say they are correct and it is Margaret Bryan. The Muriel Rose archive also never attribute the artist of the advert so it is in some doubt.
Christmas Advert for The Little Gallery
Bryan also designed the illustrations on the World Favourite Library for Boys and Girls books dust jacket. Her designs were used as a uniform dust jacket, the illustration always being the same but the name of the book printed over it changes. The series was published by Peter Lunn who also published A Children’s Almanac, both in 1947.
Nash – Summer Gypsies, with the uniform jacket by Margaret Bryan, 1947
Margaret Bryan – Macbeth