Anthony Wood was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham in 1925 After attending art school he trained as a professional calligrapher, illuminator and heraldic artist. For some years he painted heraldry for various Officers at the College of Arms. From 1965 to 1986 he taught the subjects at Ealing and Wimbledon Schools of Art. In 1968 he founded a full time three-year Diploma course in Calligraphy, Heraldry and Manuscript Illumination at Reigate School of Art and Design, and directed it as a Senior Lecturer until 1987. He has been responsible for the training of many scribes and heraldic artists from all over the world who subsequently have achieved eminence in their chosen profession.
He is the only artist to have been elected a Fellow of both the Heraldry Society and the Society of Scribes and Illuminators of London. He is President of the Society of Heraldic Arts and is a member of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, the White Lion Society, The Russian Heraldry Society, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1999 and a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Heraldry in April 2000. He is now retired from teaching and undertakes commissioned work from all over the world. He lectures and has written numerous articles on calligraphy, manuscript illumination and heraldic art and design, was co-author of A European Armorial, and the principal contributor of the articles on the artistic aspects of heraldry in The New Dictionary of Heraldry.
His latest book, Heraldic Art and Design was published in the Autumn of 1996 (Shaw & Sons Ltd) He painted of the arms of John Brooke-Little, and contributed an essay, 'The Art of Heraldry' in the book Tribute to an Armourist published in 2000 by the Heraldry Society in London to commemorate Brooke-Little's contribution to heraldry. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1955 and was Master of the Worshipful Company of Bowyers of London, (one of the Mediaeval Craft Guilds of the City) from 1980 to '82 and from 1983 to '84.
His approach to his work has always been heavily influenced by his formal training as a calligrapher and illuminator of manuscripts. Much of the best two-dimensional heraldic art, since its beginnings in the second quarter of the twelfth century, is to be found in illuminated manuscripts, whether heraldic in character or not. Accordingly, he works mainly on calf or goatskin vellum and in gouche colours, 23 carat gold and sometimes aluminum, mainly in modern styles, using the techniques of the mediaeval illuminator of manuscripts and miniaturist.
If the work is intended for reproduction, precious metals are not used and the work is carried out on watercolour board. He is able not only to produce armorial art of the highest quality but also formal and semi-formal manuscripts from the simplest to the greatest degree of complexity. Much of this work is commissioned by clients such as the Houses of Lords, Commons and the Craft and Merchant Guilds of the City of London, and by Local Authorities, Schools and Universities. His constant aim over a professional career of over half a century has been to explore, practice and teach the ways in which calligraphy and heraldry may be combined in manuscripts as a satisfying whole.
He attended the 22nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in Ottawa as an artist delegate by invitation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority in August 1996, since when he maintained a close association with both Canadian Heralds and artists. He also attended the 23rd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in Turin in September 1998, where he was invited to give a paper on Heraldric Art and Design.
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Anthony Wood SHA
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