Scene through Wood

A Century of Modern Wood Engraving

An exhibition organised by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

9 February to 1 May 2022

Scene Through Wood celebrates one of the most astonishingly skilful and richly creative forms of visual art. Curated by Anne Desmet RA, the exhibition marks 100 years since the founding of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920. It includes works from the Ashmolean’s outstanding collection of many thousands of prints, plus loans from private collections by leading artist-engravers from the 1790s right up to the present.

The wood engravings range over Romanticism, modernism and abstraction, to extraordinary photo-realistic works that defy belief. It demonstrates the endless versatility of the medium which has been used to depict the whole ‘theatre of life’, from work and play, war and hardship, designs for industry and typography, to natural landscapes and dazzling scenes of inner cities. Included are well-known names such as William Blake, Samuel Palmer, M. C. Escher and Peter Blake; and many women artists including Gertrude Hermes RA, Gwen Raverat and Edwina Ellis whose outstanding works deserve to be better known.

A specially curated selection of wood engravings by Reynolds Stone from the collections at Dorset Museum will also be on display. An illustrator, painter, designer and typographer his work spans the Natural World and Commercial Design sections of the exhibition. Pastoral scenery based on close observation was the subject of much of Stone’s work. He is also well known for his lettering inspired by the Renaissance and formal elegance of Eric Gill.

Brooklyn Bridge Afternoon by Anne Desmet

Brooklyn Bridge series: Afternoon © Anne Desmet, 2015


Exhibition Organised by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology

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Header image: Brooklyn Bridge series: Afternoon © Anne Desmet, 2015


28 April 2022

Reynolds Stone: Life and Work

A lecture by his son Humphrey Stone 28 April 2022, 7 pm To coincide with the exhibition Scene through Wood: A century of Modern Wood…

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23 April 2022

Playful spring printing for adults workshop

23 April 2022, 10 am to 12.30 pm Join artist Helen Garrett for a fun morning of experimental printing from clay using natural forms as…

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26 March 2022

Introduction to wood engraving

26 March 2022, 10am to 4pm This one-day workshop is perfect for beginners looking to learn a new technique. You will be taught the principles…

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24 February 2022

Setting the Scene

The historic and modern art of wood engraving 24 February 2022, 7 pm Anne Desmet introduces “Scene through Wood: A Century of Modern Wood Engraving”,…

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We’re Good To Go


We have gained the Visit England ‘We’re Good To Go’ kitemark confirming we’re following national COVID 19 guidelines for managing visits to our site.

✔ Face masks must still be worn to keep you, our staff and our volunteers safe unless you are exempt!

✔ You must still check-in via the Track and Trace app.

✔ Sanitisation stations will still be in place and we encourage you to use them.

✔ Social distancing will remain.

✔ Regular cleaning of our interactive exhibits will still take place.

This guidance will stay in place until further notice.