Hilary Paynter RE FRSA

Hilary Paynter is widely recognized as one of Britains leading wood-engravers, and, through her involvement with the Society of Wood Engravers, has made a significant contribution to the revival of interest in this exacting medium.

Born in Dunfermline, Hilary spent much of her early life abroad, in China and Malta, and studied sculpture and wood-engraving at Portsmouth College of Art.  After combining a career, in teaching and later as an Educational Psychologist, with intense and prolific wood engraving, Hilary is now a full-time artist, and organizes the SWEs annual touring exhibition, other events and related publications.

Her wood-engravings are held in many public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Ashmolean (Oxford) and the Fitzwilliam (Cambridge), and in city galleries including Birmingham, Hereford, Portsmouth and in the universities of London and Northumbria.  Her work has featured in international print exhibitions in North and South America, The USSR, Australia, Sweden and Switzerland and she has exhibited regularly with the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, of which she is the Past President.

Book illustration has included drawings and cartoons for Playing God by John Newell (BBC/Broadside Books), The Story of Poetry by Tom Mason (Broadside Books) with ten full-page engravings and a hundred more.

Hilary’s subject matter ranges prodigiously through dramatic landscapes to domestic observations or acute socio-political comment that may be subtle, serious or fun.  She has just completed a huge project in Newcastle, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Thomas Bewick, one of the greatest Northern artists.  The occasion was marked by number of events including a commission for a contemporary artist to create a suite of wood-engravings reflecting the life of today and landscapes of the areas served by the Tyne and Wear Metro.  The fourteen images produced as wood-engravings have now been enlarged to 2 metres tall and together measure over 22 metres long, set side by side in the city’s Metro.

Her book, ‘Full circle’, was published in 2010 to coincide with a retrospective exhibition of her work in London and is available here in the gallery.