David Gentleman interviewed by Caroline Wheater for the National Trust Magazine
If you turn to page 49 of the Spring 2013 issue of the National Trust Magazine you’ll find a photograph by John Millar with a close-up shot of a small engraved block of boxwood. It’s the lead image in The Mighty Oak Leaf, a three-page article by Caroline Wheater about the Trust’s famous oak sprig logo — that’s the artist’s original woodblock in the photo — and how David Gentleman was commissioned to redesign it 30 years ago. The logo is in the spotlight as the National Trust prepares to launch its new marketing campaign in March 2013.
“‘The oak leaf was the most fabulous symbol an organisation could hope for.’” Craig Robson, Head of Design for the National Trust
“‘You pare a design down by first doing it wrong in every conceivable way. I’d like to have only good ideas, but in reality I have to work through the bad ones first.’” David Gentleman
Wheater notes that the Trust’s first symbol was an omega sign surrounding acorns and a sprig of oak leaves, and was designed in 1936 by the sculptor and artist Joseph Armitage. Have a look at the editor’s notes below for more about Armitage, including his connection with St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Editor’s note: David Gentleman’s platform-length mural at Charing Cross underground station is well-known to Londoners. His latest book, London You’re Beautiful: An Artist’s Year, has just been published by Penguin. Gentleman is a watercolourist, lithographer, wood engraver and designer, and has published lithographs and screenprints, and designed British postage stamps. His work is represented in Tate Britain, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and in private collections. www.davidgentleman.com
Thanks to the online database of the Mapping Sculpture Project, a partnership between Glasgow University, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Henry Moore Institute, we know that Joseph Armitage (1880 – 1945) was an architectural sculptor and carver of wood and stone who carved, among other things, the ‘King’s Beasts’ for the exterior pinnacles of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. The database is the outcome of a major three-year research programme, and can be found here .