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Robert Gibbings Collection: Home

Published output of Robert Gibbings.

About the Collection

The collection comprises published work by Robert Gibbings whether books where he is the author or works by other authors where he has provided woodcut illustrations. In addition, the collection holds works about Robert Gibbings.

The collection prefix before the call number is: Gibbings.

Provenance

Some items were donated by Gerald Goldberg across 1984-1985.

Biographical History

Robert Gibbings (1889–1958) was an engraver, illustrator, and author. Gibbings was born in Cork and his father Canon Gibbings was the Rector of Carrigrohane. Robert briefly studied medicine at UCC although he had no interest in it. He did study anatomy closely in a similar manner to John Hogan, the sculptor. He left in 1907 to pursue art studying at the Slade School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design in London. He obtained a commission in the Royal Munster Fusiliers in World War IU and fought at the Dardanelles in 1915 where he was severely injured with a bullet in his neck and sent back to Ireland. 

Later he was named as an honorary graduate of Cork. Gibbings is the founder of the Society of Wood Engravers. The earliest of his extant engravings as of 1950 is the bookplate he designed for the library in 1914. The bookplate had the old version of the college arms and was surrounded by the motto 'Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster learn.' Gibbings engraved especially for the Cork University Press a coat of arms which is now widely used as the UCC coat of arms. See CUR #19 for picture. In the CUP new shield engraved as a gift the lion has been eliminated and its place taken in the lower quartering by an open volume crossed by a lighted torch. In 1923 Gibbings received a commission for a set of wood engravings for The Lives of Gallant Ladies for the Golden Cockerel Press. Gibbings took over the GCP in 1924 and published c.70 titles at the press and he printed a number of books for others, working at the Press until he sold the press in 1933. He continued to publish works with the Golden Cockerel Press' new owners. From the 1930s-1950s Gibbings worked as an illustrator in addition to lecturing at Reading University. He submitted a diploma exhibit of underwater drawings of fish and submarine growths for the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, exhibiting them first at the Munster Fine Art exhibition in Dublin. He was elected an Associate of the RHA but not a full member as he died shortly after. Gibbings died of cancer in hospital at Oxford in 1958.

Collection Highlights

Front cover to 'The story of Bovril'

Bennett, Richard. The story of Bovril. With wood engravings by Robert Gibbings. [London?]: Bovril Limited, 1953.

Book cover to 'The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard' designed by Tirzah Garwood

Coppard, A.E. The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard. With engravings by Robert Gibbings. Waltham Saint Lawrence, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1931.

Notice to subscribers bound into 'The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard'

Coppard, A.E. The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard. With engravings by Robert Gibbings. Waltham Saint Lawrence, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1931.

Title page to 'The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard'

Coppard, A.E. The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard. With engravings by Robert Gibbings. Waltham Saint Lawrence, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1931.

Colophon describing item for 'The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard'

Coppard, A.E. The hundredth story of A.E. Coppard. With engravings by Robert Gibbings. Waltham Saint Lawrence, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1931.

Book cover to 'The man from Kilsheelan: a tale'

Coppard, A. E. The man from Kilsheelan: a tale. With a woodcut by Robert Gibbings. London: William Jackson, 1930.

More Information

U.238, Special Collections, UCC Library: Samples of the Library University College Cork bookplate designed by Gibbings with motto 'Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster Learn'; Letter from Bookplate Journal: Journal of the Bookplate Society dated 16 February 1995 re: Gibbuings' engraved bookplate.

U.283, Special Collections, UCC Library: Master metal Library bookplate designed by Robert Gibbings in 1914 with motto 'Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster Learn';

The University of Reading holds the Gibbings Collection.