Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)

The Chapel, 1928


SKU: 1953
Pen and ink with white highlights

Height – 14.8cm
Width – 13.2cm

1 in stock


Private Collection

Evelyn Gibbs trained as a graphic artist and more particularly as a printmaker in etching and engraving. Born in Liverpool in 1905, the granddaughter of an Edinburgh engraver, she enrolled at Liverpool School of Art in 1922, winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1926 and from there a further scholarship to the British School at Rome in 1929, allowing her to continue and expand her practice.

Her tutor at the RCA was the excellent Malcom Osborne who encouraged his students to observe people and landscapes in everyday life. The Chapel was based on studies made in Westminster Cathedral. It is interesting to compare this with another print made the same year, The Graveside an engraving where four figures attend a burial site. In The Chapel, prayers are being offered and candles lit in memory of the departed. The women are so similar in these two works as to suggest the story of a bereavement, but the treatment is very different. Daylight and space are rendered cleanly behind the grieving figures in The Graveside, whereas the sombre enclosed space in The Chapel depends upon shadows and the candlelit area around the statue of the Virgin and Child. Here, Gibbs uses emphatic hatching and cross hatching to intensify the religious and emotional atmosphere, and it is all there in the original drawing, ready to transfer, in reverse, to the copper plate.

Commentary by Pauline Lucas, painter, printmaker, art critic and curator is author of Evelyn Gibbs: Artist and Traveller (2001) and Rediscovery & Restoration: Murals by Evelyn Gibbs at St. Martins Church, Bilborough (2015)

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Evelyn Gibbs
1905 - 1991

Evelyn Gibbs studied at the Liverpool School of Art (1922’26)
and at the Royal College of Art (1926’29). 

Credited with making significant gains for women in art and
academia, she was the second woman to win the Prix de Rome for
Engraving (1929) and was elected an associate of the RE in the
same year. 

In London, after returning from Rome in 1931, she taught at
a school for handicapped children and later wrote The Teaching of
Art in Schools
, which was published in 1934 ‘ the same year she
was appointed lecturer at Goldsmiths College. 

She founded the Midland Group of Artists in 1943 after
Goldsmiths was evacuated to Nottingham, and in that September
was commissioned as an official war artist to record Women making
, working in Blood Transfusion and in the Women’s
Voluntary Service. Seven of the works made during this time are
held in the Imperial War Museum in London. In 1945 she married
Hugh Willatt, later Secretary- General of the Arts Council.


Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
Self-portrait, 1927
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Expulsion, 1929
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Departure – Design for an Etching, 1928
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Chapel, 1928
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Chapel, 1928
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Road, 1925
Evelyn Gibbs (1905 - 1991)
The Graveside, 1928