ARTHURIAN ART

The Art of Francoise Taylor - Le Morte d'Arthur in pictures

   Another more recent creative mind whose imagination was captured by Arthurian legend was the 20th Century Belgian/British artist and book illustrator Francoise Taylor. During 1948 she produced a series of 18 wonderfully original and evocative engravings, created specifically as illustrations for Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
   Françoise Taylor (née Wauters) was born in 1920 in Liège, Belgium. She studied art at the Académie Royale in Brussels, winning the First Prize for Drawing 3 years in a row. She went on to spend 4 years at the Ecole Nationale Superiéure d'Architecture et d'Arts Decoratifs in Brussels, where she specialised in engraving, book illustration, and typography. She was awarded a Diploma with the Highest Distinction. This led to a grant to work for a further 2 years to produce a portfolio of drawings and engravings for which she was awarded the Masters Degree for Book Illustration.
   Her series of engravings 'Pointes Seches sur la Guerre' was based on her experience of living in Belgium during the German Occupation, with the Deportations and the Allied Bombardment. Her literary interests also led to her producing engravings for works by Kafka, Dostoievski, and Conrad, amongst others. These interests were extended when she moved to England after the war, where she made illustrations for Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland', and Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', as well as various other stories and nursery rhymes. Her Morte d'Arthur series of engravings, produced in 1948, formed an important part of her Masters Degree portfolio.
   After living in Oxford, England, for 2 years, she moved to Bolton, Lancashire, in the North of England, where she became fascinated by the buildings, street life, and parks of a Northern industrial town. Her wanderings about the Bolton landscape led her to produce a large collection of drawings and watercolours inspired by what she saw.
   She remained an active artist until the mid-1980's, and many of her later works arose from a continuing fascination with Alice in Wonderland and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In these and many other drawings and engravings her interest in the life of animals has frequently been apparent.
   Françoise Taylor has had "one-man" exhibitions in Brussels, Liège, Manchester, Salford, and Bolton, and her works have also been exhibited in Paris, London, and various other English towns and cities. Most of her etchings are in the permanent collection in the Cabinet des Estampes in Brussels and several in the Cabinet des Estampes in Paris.