Painter, sculptor, printmaker, wood engraver and illustrator, Gertrude Hermes was born in 1901. From 1919 to 1920, she attended the Beckenham School of Art, during which time she became acquainted with the work of Lehmbruck and Rodin. From 1921 to 1925 she attended Leon Underwood’s School of Painting and Sculpture where she studied with Moore, Pitchforth and Coxon.
Hermes began wood engraving in 1922 and two years later, she started producing carvings. She married Blair Hughes-Stanton in 1926 and the two collaborated on illustrations for “Pilgrim’s Progress” published by Cresset Press in 1926. They also produced murals for the World Fair in Paris in 1928. Subsequently, Hermes received many commissions for wood engravings, including work for Penguins Illustrated Classics. In 1930, Hermes and her husband moved to the Gregynog Press in Wales, but they separated one year later.
After working in Canada from 1940 to 1945, Hermes returned to London and produced wood and lino block cuttings using color. From 1934, she exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and showed in London and provincial galleries. She represented Britain at the Venice International Exhibition in 1939. She has taught at Camberwell, Westminster, St. Martin’s and the Central Schools of Art. From 1966, she taught wood and lino block printing at the Royal Academy Schools.
The great delicacy and complexity of her work helped to establish her as a leading wood engraver in the 1920s. Many of her subjects, both in print and sculpture are animals and children.