Caught by the River

Clare Leighton – Working Life – Exhibition

22nd December 2013

Clare Leighton Christmas Card

The De’ Longhi Print Room
Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1TJ
10th December 2013 – 24th February 2014

Clare Leighton is an artist I was completely unaware of until a couple of years ago (one of a heap of examples of enlightenment that doing this site has blessed me with). It changed when the folk at Little Toller republished her book Four Hedges – the story of the garden she carved from meadowland deep in the Chiltern Hills – which was reviewed fondly on this site by Martin Davies back in August 2010. Little Toller followed up by putting out The Farmer’s Year a breathtaking book of words and engravings many of which are on show at this exhibition. (JB)


Best known for her wood engravings illustrating rural agriculture in England, Europe and the American South, Clare Leighton (1898-1989) illustrated at least 65 books, as well as writing and decorating her own books.

This exhibition features over 50 wood engravings from the 1920s to the 1950s loaned by the artist’s estate, including her powerful series of prints based on her experiences in a snow-bound Canadian lumber camp in 1931, and the images for her celebrated book ‘The Farmer’s Year: A Calendar of English Husbandry’ (1933) produced in response to her concern about the loss of traditional ways of agriculture in the 1930s.

In addition, the exhibition brings together several of the original wood blocks and related prints to provide a fascinating insight into the artist’s working methods, together with the ceramic plates depicting New England Industries which were commissioned by Wedgwood Ltd.

We try and keep the Little Toller titles in our shop at all times but we’ve had a bit of a busy Christmas and the shelf is bare. We’ll remedy this in January, please pay us a visit.

Further information on the exhibition can be found here.