Pressing on: a decade of new linocuts

Published on 27 August 2018 in Book reviews

By Robert Gillmor

Mascot Media, 2018; hbk, 168pp; ISBN 978-1-9998457-1-1

£25.00 buy it from the BB Bookshop

The front cover image is of resting Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus, the back cover of Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula. Their bold plumage patterns are a gift to printmakers but even so, as book jackets go, this is a stunner and an indication of the quality of art work by Robert Gillmor and design work by Alan Marshall of Mascot Media to be discovered inside.

The majority of the prints shown are grouped in six sections: Gallery prints; Post and go stamps; The New Naturalist’s library; Book covers and illustration; Birdfair; and Christmas cards and more. It represents a comprehensive catalogue of Robert’s output of work since 2006 – some output! As a reader of BB or attendee of the Birdfair, you will already be familiar with his approach to his craft and some of the images in the book. If you are not familiar, or perhaps not fans of original printmaking, this may not be the book for you, but really you should give it a try!

Don’t be fooled by the deceptive simplicity of the prints; the skill is instinctively knowing what to leave out. I might say that this is borne out of years of experience, but in fact Robert has always had this ability – check out the RSPB Birds magazine covers of the 1960s and 70s. The most enjoyable pages for me are those where sketches are included alongside the print, revealing the development from a ‘simple’ pencil image created out on the Norfolk marshes to the finished ‘studio’ print.

With the sad loss of Ian Langford recently (Langford Press published Robert’s last major tome Cutting Away in 2006), it is encouraging to see Mascot Media almost single-handedly carrying the torch for wildlife art – long may they continue with quality publications like this.

Dan Powell