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Calligraphy >> Joan Pilsbury (1926-) and Wendy Westover (1928-)
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Joan Pilsbury and Wendy Westover

Joan Pilsbury was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire in 1926. She had an early interest in writing and studied calligraphy at the Central School of Art and Crafts in the years 1943-8 under M.C. Oliver*. From 1949 to '57 she was a part-time instructor of calligraphy, assisting Irene Wellington* in her classes and becoming an advocate of her approach. Pilsbury was elected a craft member of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators in 1950 and acted as their Librarian for a period.

She married in 1955, and lived and worked firstly in west London then - from the early 1970s - in Suffolk. Her official work, since 1971, was for the Crown Office, producing illuminated letters patent for life peerages or scrolls for royal and court appointments. She has also worked for the Royal Society of Literature, the Savoy Chapel, city livery companies, the Household Cavalry, and the London Stock Exchange. She has work in the major American university libraries and the collections of the Victoria and Albert, the National Museum of Wales and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Joan Pilsbury collaborated with Wendy Westover on several prestigious commissions, including those for the Drapers' Company (1964) and Ampleforth Abbey (1986). Westover was born in Epsom, Surrey in 1928 and studied under William Bishop at Wimbledon School of Art and Margaret Alexander at the Slade School of Fine Art (1948-50). She also studied in David Kindersley's lettering workshop for a year. She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators in 1952 and worked to commission from that time.

*Denotes included in the Crafts Study Centre Collection



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