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Biggs, John R, (1909-1988), engraver and typographer

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Surname: Biggs
Forenames: John R
Gender: Male
Date: 1909-1988
History: John R Biggs was born at 19 Hampden St, Derby in 1909. After studying at Derby School of Arts and Crafts where he produced and co-edited the Art School magazine, later called The Buck in the Park, he established a private press at his home in 1929 called The Hampden Press. Here he designed and printed his own publications including Sinfin Songs (1932), an edition of Spenser’s Epithalamium (1938) and A World Within a War by Herbert Read (1943), illustrating them with his own wood engravings. While a student at the Central School in London, he developed his interest in typography and graphic design which he later taught at a number of art schools before becoming Head of Graphic Design at Brighton School of Art in 1953, a post he retained until his retirement in 1974. In the mid 1940s, John R Biggs was Art Editor for SCM Press Ltd in London and he continued to work as a freelance book illustrator and designer in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1958 Blandford Press published John R Biggs’ Woodcuts, re-issued as Classic Woodcut Art and Engraving. He was the author of a number of handbooks and studies on typography, letter-forms and lettering, wood cuts and wood engravings from the late 1940s until the late 1970s. From 1972 until shortly before his death, John R Biggs travelled extensively in Russia and the Baltic States. These trips provided him with material for lectures, especially on Soviet Art and Art Education, and a wide network of contacts with artists, especially wood engravers, in the Soviet Union.
  • Derby, Derbyshire
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/P148836 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/P37122 )
Online related resources Artists' Paper Register link for John R Biggs
Number Description Held by Reference Further information
1924-88: corresp and papers
Derbyshire Record Office
NRA 34771