> > > Reynolds Stone

Reynolds Stone at his workbench in the Old Rectory, Litton Cheney, c.1967

Printer - Engraver - Craftsman - Artist

10 July – 2 October 2009

Reynolds Stone was one of Dorset’s most important 20th century artists and a special display at Dorset County Museum in the summer of 2009 commemorated the centenary of his birth.

Early Life and Career

Born in Eton, where his father was a housemaster, Stone began an unofficial printing apprenticeship at Cambridge University Press in 1932. Stone furthered his skills under the tutorship of typographer and sculptor Eric Gill, before joining Barnicott & Pearce in Taunton.

In 1934 he left the firm to engrave full time and soon established himself as an esteemed commercial artist of international standing. Amongst his most famous works are motifs for The Times and The Economist, graphic designs for Barclays Bank and the Advertising Association, as well as corporate logos for Shell, Bally and the Dolcis chain of shoe shops. Interested in all aspects of printing, Stone created the typeface Minerva for the Linotype printing company in 1955.

Reynolds Stone and Dorset

Stone drew artistic inspiration from Dorset throughout his life. His first encounter with the county was as a boy of ten, when he was sent to Dunford School at Langton Matravers. On Sundays he would stroll through the countryside towards Corfe Castle and paint water-colours of the landscape.

His father owned a house at near Bridport, where the family spent their holidays. Here Stone’s life-long fascination with rural and nautical Dorset began, photographing village life and making models of the boats at West Bay.

In 1953 Stone, and his wife Janet, moved to the Old Rectory at Litton Cheney where they created an idyllic, inspirational woodland garden. They were often visited by artists and writers such as Iris Murdoch, Kenneth Clark, Benjamin Britten and John Betjeman, holding fireside readings and picnicing on Chesil Beach.

By Royal Appointment

Reynolds Stone’s engravings were highly respected by the British establishment. His Eton education opened up a range of high society contacts and under the guidance of his mentor Stanley Morison (typographer and editor of The Times Literary Supplement), Stone secured a range of high profile commissions.

Following the success of his engravings for Elizabeth of York in 1934 and King George VI’s coronation in 1937, Stone would receive stately commissions for the rest of his career. He engraved the Royal Arms for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 and the official coat of arms for Her Majesty’s Stationary Office in 1955. Stone also designed stamps for the Royal Mint between 1946 and 1965, and banknotes for the Bank of England in 1963 and 1964.

Awarded the CBE in 1953, and made an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry) in 1956, Stone continued engraving, printing and painting until his death in 1979.