James J. Guthrie Founds the Pear Tree Press

Five covers for The Elf magazine

Inspired by William Blake and William Morris, James J. Guthrie founded The Pear Tree Press in 1899, so that he could take production into his own hands. Clemence Housman engraved numerous illustrations for Pear Tree Press books. Placing Housman's work within "that tradition which runs through Blake and the Pre-Raphaelites," Guthrie observed in 1924 that "in technical range, no engraver has carried the art further." Her “graver release[d] from the wood whatever fine-spun, fantastic subject there may be set, apparently without effort” (“Wood Engravings of Clemence Housman”). Sixty years later, printmaker Leonard Baskin likewise hailed Clemence Housman's unique skill as an engraver, noting "that the special and entrancing qualities of The Pear Tree Press illustrations are in large measure due to Clemence's sensitive and capable hand transferring Guthrie's designs into compelling works of fine art" ("Portrait of Clemence Housman").

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1899