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Agnes Miller Parker - Gifted Gallery

Agnes Miller Parker, born 3 April 1895, was an engraver, illustrator and painter in oil and tempera. Born in Ayrshire, she spent most of her career in London and southern England. She is best known as a twentieth century wood-engraver thanks to her collaboration with H. E. Bates, which resulted in two outstanding wood engraved books, Through the Woods (1936) and Down the River (1937).

Agnes Miller Parker was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1911 to 1917. She later became a member of staff at the school for a short period.

In 1918 she married the painter, William McCance; which led her to spend most of her career in London and southern England. Parker's early paintings, as well as those of her husband, reflect the short-lived group of artists known as the Vorticists, who were active in London in the 1920s.

The main body of Parkers work consists of wood-engravings for book illustrations that demonstrate fine draughtsmanship and skilful use of black and white design.

Parker was commissioned to illustrate The Fables of Aesop (1931), Through the Woods by H. E. Bates (1936), The Open Air by Richard Jefferies (edited by Samuel J. Looker, 1949) and her most acclaimed work, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray (1938). She also received commissions from the Limited Editions Club of New York and illustrated editions of Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy.

In 1955 Parker and William McCance separated and she returned to Glasgow, moving again in 1963 to Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.

Agnes Miller Parker died 15 November 1980, aged 85, in Greenock, Scotland. She is best remembered for her outstanding wood engravings which brought life to the books of some of the most talented writers of her generation.



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