Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Helen Lock

A British artist who may have lived in Sussex is the sum total of what I know about Helen Lock. But this wood-engraving on its own is enough to show just how meticulous she was. None of the try-too-hard, art school stylisation for Lock. She took a cute subject and approached it with discipline and skill. There is a wonderful play-off here between the dog in the foreground and the miniature landscape behind and a subtle relationship between print and photography.

She was friend and archivist for Mrs Wingfield Digby, a Sussex breeder in the twenties and no doubt this prompted her choice of subject. She did make several other prints of the dogs. If anyone can turn up a copy of Betty Clark's 1979 book about C2oth British women wood-engravers, there are others inside. (The title is too cringe-making to repeat).

Unfortunately, I was unable to include a 1920s photograph of champion keeshonds.


  1. Mrs Wingfield - Digby was one of the founder breeders of Keeshonds, importing her first dogs before her marriage. She lived at Sherborne Castle, the ancestral home of the Wingfield-Digby family, a gift to Earl Digby from Queen Elizabeth I.

    Gwendoline Wingfield-Digby bred keeshonds until her death in the 1970's http://www.sherbornecastle.com/

  2. Interesting, thank you. I wonder how she got to know Helen Lock.