Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 28.
Evelyn Gibbs’ Self-portrait, made whilst at the Royal College of Art in 1927, a year before she applied
for and won the coveted Rome Scholarship in Engraving, has much in common with, and might have
been inspired by, Henry Fuseli’s Self-portrait of 1770. Gibbs confidently shows herself at the start of
the process of producing a drypoint, the blank copper etching plate on which she is working soon to
become the self-portrait we are looking at. The drypoint medium, (made with a needle to create a soft
burr giving a characteristic velvety appearance), was a more immediate method of printmaking than
etching (where acid is used to deepen the lines on the plate). Generally fewer prints can be pulled in
the case of drypoint as the plate gets too worn. An etching, such as The Road, might typically be made
in an edition of up to 50 prints.
The Road resulted in her election as associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, in 1929, the
year she won her Rome Scholarship. A review described it as a beautiful little etching ‚ÄúThe Road‚Äù, with
it’s emotional significance ‚Äì two tramps, a man and a woman are sitting crouched by the roadside, their
heads upon their knees, utterly tired out ‚Äì but the sunny road winds on through banked meadows away
over the country . . . this etching promises well for Miss Gibbs’ future, more even than her accomplished
We are grateful to Pauline Lucas and Clive Graham for assistance