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Artist Robert Gibbings features in a new exhibition at Brightwell's very own Red Phone Box Gallery  - which now also has a new sign.

The exhibition was launched at the Red Lion with an illustrated talk by  Martin Andrews, author of the definitive biography of Gibbings - and there are plans to repeat the talk in the near future.

Robert Gibbings was a well known wood engraver, artist, sculptor and author who lived and is buried in Long Wittenham. Born in 1889 he studied at the Slade and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1911 where he met many influential artists including Paul Nash. He developed his skills as a wood engraver to produce illustrations for books and advertising. Moving to Waltham St Lawrence, south of Reading, he bought and ran the Golden Cockerel Press in 1924 and went on to design and produce, with Eric Gill, some of the finest illustrated books ever published. These are today highly collectable.

He became a lecturer at the University of Reading in 1936 where he built a punt sized boat which he travelled down the Thames and collected material for ‘Sweet Thames Run Softly’. This proved very popular in the UK and USA. He moved with Patience Empson to Footbridge Cottage in Long Wittenham in 1955 where he wrote a companion volume ‘Till I End My Song’ which contains many local scenes and became his last book. He was very fond of the area and became well known as a larger than life character in The Vine. He died of cancer in January 1958 although Patience lived on there for a further 45 years.

The Exhibition is prepared by Steve Capel-Davies with information supplied by Martin Andrews.

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