Helen Ogilvie taught herself to make colour linocuts from a book by Claude Flight, and likewise became interested in wood engraving through books, having seen reproduction of wood engravings by Thomas Bewick (who also inspired Lionel Lindsay),
Edward Calvert and Eric Gill. She began to make them using improvised tools, blocks and materials, leading to many commissions for bookplates and book illustrations, and was especially attracted to the sharp contrast of black and white in the prints. She favoured everyday subjects, such as her garden, animals and the bush.
‘What interested me I think were the English wood engravers. I would have seen them in reproductions in books … I think it appealed to me as an artistic expression because it was done so directly with the hand. I know that when a painter is painting the
hand is connected with the brain. But with wood engraving it seemed to me it was almost more so. And I got very worked up
about it, but I had no way of learning … I know how I got started. Eric Thake was the man who said to me, “I’ll show you
how to use your tool.”’
from Anne Ryan, 'Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, Sydney 2007
wood engraving, printed in black ink on white tissue
6.8 x 6.8 cm blockmark; 9.8 x 9.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "‘H Ogilvie". Not dated.
Not on display
© Estate of the artist
Referenced in 1 publication
Australian etchings and engravings 1880s–1930s from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2007, 78, 78 (colour illus.). cat.no. 117