Untitled Document

Hilary Paynter, Wood engraver

Hilary Paynter

Hilary obtained a NDD at Portsmouth College of Art: Sculpture and Wood Engraving. Later, she did a MA and MSC in Psychology.

At the same time, she did parallel careers in wood engraving and Special Needs education for 30 years. She is a fulltime artist since 2000, Reviving the then moribund Society of Wood Engravers in early 1980’s.

Hilary was interviewed by the BBC for Woman’s Hour and Kaleidoscope; filmed by the BBC for Off the Wall and We are (not) Amused (about cartoons of royalty).

Major public commissions in Newcastle: Central Station Metro and The Media Exchange.


  • President, Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers: 2006 – 2011
  • Chairman, Society of Wood Engravers: 1999 – 2006
  • Monograph Full Circle, with 600+ engravings, published in 2010

Private collections:

In the V&A, Ashmolean, Fitzwilliam Museums; Laing Art Gallery, Hereford and Durham City Art Galleries; Universities of London and Northumbria

Illustrated books include:

Fragments from the Satyricon by Petronius; Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti; three books for Gwasg Gregynog: The Romantics in Wales, The Texture of the Universe and Castles and Princes. In Memory of Water by Simon Armitage.

Her work: Hilary always has more ideas than I can use and these range widely to include socio-political comment and landscape. I normally work directly onto end-grain wood with rudimentary drawings from ideas that I have been refining mentally and this allows development of the engraving on the block.

There is always an urgency in my work because of my commitments to the Society of Wood Engravers and RE. I have developed rapid engraving techniques. Generally, I have several blocks in progress at any time and move between them. I enjoy the occasional constraints of working to a commission.

Exhibitions include:

  • Bankside Gallery                                                    London
  • Hereford City Art Gallery                                        Hereford
  • Woodend Barn                                                       Banchory
  • Durham City Art Gallery                                         Durham
  • Burton Art Gallery                                                   Bideford;
  • Thirsk: 20th Century Gallery                                   London
  • Art Matters, Tenby                                                  Aberystwyth
  • Northern Print                                                        Newcastle