ROBERT GIBBINGS (1889 – 1958) was born in Kinsale, County Cork, the son of a clergyman. He studied medicine at University College Cork before overcoming opposition from his parents to study art, first with a local painter, Harry Scully, and then at the Slade School. Wounded at Gallipoli while serving in the First World War, he resumed his art studies in London and began making wood engravings from numerous drawings made during the war. In 1919 he helped found the Society of Wood Engravers, and from 1924 to 1933 he owned and ran the Golden Cockerel Press, where he illustrated publications with his own engravings and with the work of other leading artists of his generation, including Eric Ravilious, John Nash, Agnes Miller Parker and Eric Gill. The success of Sweet Thames Run Softly led to many more books which he engraved and wrote, and also to him becoming one of the first natural history presenters on the BBC.
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