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RODERIC DUNNETT reports on the recent activities of
Elgar authority Jerrold Northrop Moore

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Griggs grew up in Hertfordshire, England and later moved to Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire, having become deeply influenced by the teachings of William Morris and John Ruskin. In Camden he later designed and built New Dover's House, one of the last and finest examples of Cotswold domestic architecture inspired by the beliefs of the Arts and Crafts Movement : a building conceived entirely in harmony with its landscape and built by local labour.

F.L.Griggs: St Ippolyts (watercolour)The Ashmolean Museum has the finest collection of Griggs etchings in the world. Many of his most typical works offer an extraordinary blend of Nature and the man-made, curious juxtapositions of the ecclesiastical and the secular, and striking evocations of beauty in decay.

Griggs shared with other contemporary artists and writers of the late Victorian, Edwardian and early Georgian eras an acute sense of grief and dismay at the tragic loss of ways of life that had endured since the middle ages, and which was being swept away by the intrusion of the motor car, and by social change and upheaval in the wake of World War I.

The Ashmolean Museum's two-month long exhibition, together with that recently mounted at the Fine Art Society in New Bond St., London and Jerrold Northrop Moore's definitive new book, offers the best opportunity on either side of the Atlantic for a universal reassessment of Griggs's output since Francis Comstock published landmark Griggs catalogue (A Gothic Vision : F.L.Griggs and his Work, Oxford and Boston, 1966) three decades ago.


Copyright © Roderic Dunnett, November 4th 1999


F.L.Griggs: Maur's Farm, 1913 (etching)

F.L.Griggs : The Architecture of Dreams by Jerrold Northrop Moore is published by Oxford University Press (+44 (0)1865 556767). The Griggs exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (+44 (0)1865 288183) runs till 9th January, opening hours 10am - 5pm (Tuesday-Saturday) and 2pm-5pm (Sunday). Closed on Mondays.


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