Curwen History


1863

The Reverend John Curwen establishes the Curwen Press in Plaistow to publish sheet music for his ‘tonic sol – fa’ system. John Curwen wanted to ensure music was easily accessible to people of all classes and all ages and this system delivered his social aims with education available for all.

1908

His Grandson Harold joins soon after the introduction of lithography and was at the vanguard of the design revolution that invited artist participation in print - making art available to wider public.

1920

Oliver and Herbert Simon join the Curwen Press.

1924

Oliver had contact with The Royal College of Art which led to commissions for artists including Paul Nash who was a Teacher at the RCA and Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious who were both his students. In turn they introduced Graham Sutherland, John Piper and others to print at Curwen.

1939

In spite of problems during World War II the press remained active, producing publications for Free France, the Belgian government in exile and the literary magazine ‘Horizon’.

1958

Due to the emergence of artists original prints Timothy and Robert Simon set up The Curwen Studio under the management of Stanley Jones.

1963

The Curwen Studio moves to Midford Place in Tottenham Court Road where it grew and developed a reputation nationally and internationally for the quality of its work and its printers led by Stanley Jones.

There followed a period when artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland, Elizabeth Frink, Alan Davie, Josef Herman and John Piper produced many important lithographs.

1965

The Curwen Gallery opened in nearby premises to be a shop window for Artists producing prints with Curwen.

1977

The Tate Gallery form an archive of contemporary prints and the Curwen Press and Studio’s important contribution is duly recognised in an exhibition “Artists at Curwen: A Celebration of the Gift of Artists Prints from The Curwen Studio”.

1989

The Curwen Studio moves to Chilford Hall in Cambridgeshire.

1991

Stanley Jones and Sam Alper set up a charity The Curwen Print Study Centre to ensure that facilities for Fine Art Printmaking exist for future generations. It is to be an educational charity available to all. A period of fund raising follows.

2000

The Curwen Print Study Centre opens its doors to the studio at Chilford Hall for artists of all ages and abilities to come and learn Fine Art Printmaking skills.

The Royal Academy honours the Curwen Studio’s involvement with Academicians with an exhibition in the Friends Room of prints by 41 RA Members.

2001

Lorraine Chitson joins Curwen Print Study Centre as the Centre Director.

There followed a period of building both an Education Programme for Schools and a General Course Programme for adult artists. The Studio is now in use most days every week.

2003

Stanley Jones retires from The Curwen Studio as Master Printer.

2008

50th Anniversary of The Curwen Studio. Tate Britain mark the occasion with an exhibition and the publication of ‘Art and Print: The Curwen Story’ by Alan Powers.

2009

Stanley Jones is awarded an MBE for Services to Lithography with Artists.

Curwen Print Study Centre adds teaching on an Outreach basis to its many activities.

2010

Stanley Jones MBE publishes his autobiography.

2012

The Print Master – BBC Programme about Stanley Jones and his career recorded in The Curwen Studio is aired on BBC Radio 4.

You can listen to the programme here

2014

The Curwen Studio under the Ownership and Directorship of Jenny Roland and Nicole Langstaff moves to Worton Hall Studios in Middlesex to work in collaboration with Coriander Studio.

Curwen Chilford Prints remains at Chilford Hall.

Stanley Jones discontinues all involvement with The Curwen Studio as both a Director and a Consultant.
It is his wish to devote his time to the development of The Curwen Print Study Centre.

Stanley Jones is appointed as Life President of The Curwen Print Study Centre.

2016

The Curwen Primary School from Plaistow visit Curwen Print Study Centre to celebrate 200 years since John Curwen’s birth. John Curwen’s ethos of education for all continues with the teaching of Printmaking for artists of all abilities in The Curwen Print Study Centre.