GIBBINGS, Robert John (1889-1958). Wood-engraver, author and book designer.
Autograph Letter Signed and 3 Typewritten Letters Signed to Herbert Palmer (1880-1961, poet and literary critic), 6 pages 4to on paper of the Golden Cockerel Press, April-August 1933. Together with nine wood-cut proofs for Palmer's The Roving Angler (1933), three signed in full and six with initials. All are on fine wove paper with wide margins.
The letters discuss Gibbings's work on the illustrations to Palmer's book, a collection of essays, which was published by Dent in 1933, explaining in the first letter that he is planning to do the frontispiece, the chapter headings and other small '"notes" to decorate the title page & any odd blanks'. Other letters discuss technical details and the difficulty of making alterations etc.
'... The trouble in a case of this kind is always the same that the artist thinks more of the picture than of the ingredients thereof. If I put in all the scales on the grayling it would alter the general pattern of the black and white. With all these engravings the blocks are now finished and once the thing is cut away it is impossible to put it back without very great trouble ... .'
In last letter Gibbins declines to provide a free set of proofs (he had already offered proofs during the consultation process):
'As I have now sold this press and am depending entirely on engraving for my living I cannot very well give away any more but I would let you have a set for the nominal price of 2 guineas ... I have only taken fifteen proofs of each so they may be considered scarce items!!.'
The three larger woodcuts (of fish) are about 65 x 86 mm. (c.2½ x 3 inches), and the smaller ones are of birds (two), a dog, angling equipment and a pipe.
The image links to a larger or more detailed version.