June Crisfield Chapman exhibition at Bowes

June Crisfield Chapman, known for her engravings of plants in The Countryman magazine, will be the focus of a new exhibition at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

June follows two main themes in her engravings: plant forms and characters from literature and the theatre.

Echinopsis - June Crisfield Chapman

Echinopsis - June Crisfield Chapman

She finds fascination and inspiration in the various forms of plants, as well as the myth and folklore surrounding medicinal plants.

Theatre subjects have also captivated her since she first became enamoured by transformation scenes in pantomimes.

June was a student at the Glasgow School of Art in the 50s, which was famed for its emphasis on drawing.

Here she became intrigued by the possibilities of line, ending her four years there in the wood engraving department.

For 11 years June wrote and engraved for The Countryman magazine.

Her plant engravings have been shown in exhibitions in the Royal Botanic Garden Gallery, Edinburgh; the Chelsea Physic Garden Gallery and the Walter Rothschild Museum, part of the Natural History Museum in London.

Her literary and theatre themed engravings include characters from Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Ancient Greek plays.

Her work has been the subject of one-woman shows at the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe complex and has been included in exhibitions on Chaucer in Westminster Abbey and St.Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

She has also illustrated books on Shakespeare for the Folio Book Society.

“The Commedia dell’ Arte has always been a source of inspiration,” said June. “Literature too, of the lively sort – Chaucer, Sterne, Boccaccio, etc – makes me want to engrave active characters. Plants, particularly flowers, have engaged my attention since I was a child, by their varied forms and intriguing shapes.”

The exhibition, runs from Saturday, 4 February until Sunday, 13 May 2012. It is included in the admission cost to the Museum.

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