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Buckland Wright (John), Collection of Letters to Christopher Sandford
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Title: John Buckland Wright Letters to Christopher Sandford
    creator: Buckland Wright, John, 1897-1954
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.1960.028
    Physical Description: 1 box
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1955
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.42 linear ft, 1 box
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of hand written and typed letters, postcards, and a few pieces of inserted works/proofs sent from the engraver John Buckland Wright to Christopher Sanford, the owner of the Golden Cockerel Press.
    Physical Location: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Bertram Rota Booksellers, 1960.

    Processing Information

    Items were originally part of the William Andrew Clark Library's Misc MSS collection and were recataloged and described in 2017 by Joyce Wang.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Buckland Wright Letters to Christopher Sandford, MS.1960.028, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biographical Note

    John Buckland Wright (1897-1954) was an eminent 20th century book illustrator, printmaker and engraver known for producing engraved works for numerous private presses. Born in New Zealand where he spent most of his childhood, he and his mother later moved to England in 1908. Though he briefly studied history in college and considered becoming an architect, he ultimately became a self-taught wood engraver. In the mid-1920s, John Buckland Wright moved to Brussels to experience its vibrant artist community, joining groups such as the Gravure Originale Belge and the Xylographes Belges. While at Brussels, he met the Scottish-Canadian musician Mary Bell Anderson whom he later married. After 1929, he went to Paris and spent the next decade working at the avant-garde printmaking shop Atelier 17 with its founder Stanley William Hayter, becoming its director in 1936. During this time, he collaborated with a number of illustrious artists including Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Miró, and Dali. Returning to London in 1939 with the outbreak of WWII, he continued to be active in the printmaking and engraving scene during the war. In his later years, he started to teach printmaking at the Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School of art up until his unexpected death in 1954.
    He illustrated 16 books for the Golden Cockerel Press and became close friends with its then owner Christopher Sandford. The most notable of his works from this period included illustrations for Pervigilium Veneris (1939), The Vigil of Venus (1939), and John Keats' poem Endymion (1947). Most of his engravings dealt with themes of environmental beauty and the sensuality of the nude female body, particularly as epitomized in Greek mythos. His preoccupation with producing works of grace and tranquility was arguably a cathartic one that can be traced to his experiences in the Scottish Ambulance Service where he witnessed scenes of devastation while stationed at Verdun during WWI. In 1953, Buckland Wright published Etching and Engraving: Techniques and the Modern Trend which remains a seminal work in the field. Holdings of his engravings can be found in the British Museum, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tate Gallery.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection of letters sent by John Buckland Wright, mostly to Christopher Sandford, during their many years producing books together at the Golden Cockerel Press. The letters primarily deal with work-related issues such as layout and the production of engravings, although more casual, family-related letters become increasingly frequent towards the later years.
    One folder in the collection contains letters sent by Buckland Wright's wife Mary Bell Anderson to Christopher Sanford.


    Materials arranged in the collection by recipient and then chronologically.

    Related Materials

    Other collections related to the Golden Cockerel Press at the Clark Library include:
    Press coll. Golden Cockerel
    Eric Gill Artwork Collection: MS Gill
    Robert Gibbings Colleciton: Press Coll. Archives Gibbings
    A number of letters addresed to Christopher Sandford can also be found in the Misc. Mss Collection

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Clark Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Letters--England--20th century
    Small presses -- England -- 20th century
    Sandford, Christopher
    Golden Cockerel Press