Obituary: Lettice Sandford
Tuesday 07 December 1993
ADMIRED by collectors for the engravings and drawings which she made in the Thirties and Forties, Lettice Sandford will be remembered too by the many whom, more recently, she taught to make corn-dollies.
As a girl Lettice Rate studied at the Byam Shaw and Vicat Cole School of Art, and later, with an interest in book illustration, at the Art Section of the Chelsea Polytechnic. Here she worked under Percy Jowett, who had earlier taught her at her boarding school in north London. She was taught to engrave on wood by Robert Day, and etching by Graham Sutherland. On a skiing holiday in Switzerland she met the printer Christopher Sandford, and they were married in 1929. Together they ran the Boar's Head Press, whose books were printed at the Chiswick Press, of which Christopher was a director. Her engravings for their first two books, published in 1931 and 1932, were plainly early work, engaging things, but somewhat amateur in style. Then she saw a copy of Blair Hughes-Stanton's Comus with its fine white lines engraved into solid black backgrounds, and for the next couple of years his style was all-important to her: the engravings for Sappho (1932) are among her finest.
In 1933 Christopher Sandford bought the Golden Cockerel Press from Robert Gibbings, and, though he transferred the printing to the Chiswick Press, was able to maintain the very high standards of book production that Gibbings had achieved working at home in Waltham St Lawrence. The finest of engravers continued to work for him - Gibbings himself, Eric Gill, Hughes-Stanton, Eric Ravilious, John Buckland Wright, almost everyone of consequence - to produce a series of finely printed illustrated books that are now too often outside the range of ordinary collectors. Lettice was able to take her place in this galaxy, and, apart from various smaller books, to cut fine line-engravings on wood for The Golden Bed of Kydno (1935 - printed in reverse by collotype, so that they seemed to have been cut in copper), 19 copper engravings for The Song of Songs (1936) and 20 in zinc for The Golden Cockerel Greek Anthology (1937).
These marked the high-point of her career as illustrator. She was influenced now by Matisse, with simply cut lines, though with the same sensuous approach to the female form as those she had cut for the Boar's Head.
She produced two children's books, Roo-ooo and Panessa (1938) and Coo my Doo (1943), her pen and colour-wash drawings printed by lithography. After the Second World War she illustrated four books with pen drawings for the Folio Society, the last in 1953. In all her work appeared in some two dozen volumes.
The Golden Cockerel Press was sold to Thomas Yoseloff in 1959, and the Sandfords turned to a country life, displaying at Eye Manor, their house near Leominster, the books they had published, with a small museum and a collection of corn-dollies. Lettice wrote pamphlets on how to make these, and gave lessons to an increasing number of enthusiasts, even going out to the United States for the purpose. Latterly she returned to her work as an artist, in water-colour.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
Greece debt crisis explainer: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
Greece debt crisis referendum: Greeks want to vote No to austerity – but Yes to Europe
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...