An artist craftsman of apparent simplicity - Click here to read the article

Press Release

Visionary Landscapes


1909 - 1979

A Centenary Exhibition

at the Britten-Pears Foundation

The Red House, Golf Lane,

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

The exhibition runs from April 14th to the 24th, and is open daily

(except Sunday) from 2-5 pm


2009 marks the centenary of the birth of Reynolds Stone, the British engraver, letter cutter and painter. Various exhibitions are being held throughout the year in celebration. The first of these, courtesy of the Britten-Pears Foundation, is at the Red House in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, from April 14th - 24th 2009.

Reynolds Stone was a graphic artist whose anachronistic medium was mainly that of wood engraving, although his lettering in stone has not been surpassed. He was an unusual artist; although revered by many, most people are both unaware, though familiar with his work.

In spite of his total lack of self-promotion his reputation grew. He was commissioned to engrave the coat-of-arms on our passports, to design stamps for HMSO; and to design the £5 and £10 bank note during the 1960s.

He engraved the label for the London Library, the logo for the Folio Society, and he cut the letters in the Winston Churchill slab in the centre of the floor at Westminster Abbey, T. S. Eliot’s tombstone in Poets’ Corner, as well as Benjamin Britten’s tombstone in Aldeburgh.

His wife Janet, herself a skilled photographer, invited their circle of friends to stay at the Old Rectory which became a kind of salon where writers, poets and fellow artists could work and feel at home. Among the many who has visited Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, Kenneth Clark, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, C. Day Lewis and his wife Jill Balcon, Sidney Nolan, L. P. Hartley and John Betjeman.

He designed two typefaces, but is arguably most loved for his intense and personal vision of the country, particularly of the Dorset countryside where he lived, which features in so many of his engravings. As Iris Murdoch said: ‘Wood engraving, that extraordinary art, when practised by a master such as Reynolds, can produce in a tiny compass a masterpiece of authoritative imagination’.

Reynolds Stone became a Royal Designer for Industry, a CBE, and Honorary Fellow of his old college, Magdalene, Cambridge, before his untimely death aged just 70.

His daughter, Emma Beck, has arranged a series of exhibitions to mark the centenary of his birth, beginning at the Red House, Aldeburgh, where he used to stay with his friends Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. It’s a fitting place to launch an exhibition commemorating the work of Reynolds Stone, not only for this reason but also because of his collaboration with them and others in their circle, notably John and Myfanwy Piper and Lord Clark.

Reynolds engraved scenes of Aldeburgh for Festival programmes, and illustrations for Britten’s songs as well as engravings for Kenneth Clark’s autobiographical piece about his Suffolk childhood, ‘The Other Side of the Alde’. His first one-man exhibition of water colours was shown in the 1957 Aldeburgh Festival.

For further information please contact:

Kevin Gosling

Promotions Manager

Britten-Pears Foundation

Tel: 01728 451700



Emma Beck

Tel: 020 8891 3230


All images are Copyright © Reynolds Stone Estate 2009