Gertrude Hermes (1902 – 1983) British Illustrator, Sculptor & Designer

Hermes, Gertrude; StoneHenge
Hermes, Gertrude; StoneHenge; Credit line: (c) The Artist’s Estate (c) Royal Academy of Arts / (c) The Estate of Gertrude Hermes

Gertrude Anna Bertha Hermes (1901 – 1983) was a British wood-engraver and sculptor. During the 1930s, Hermes was a member of the English Wood Engraving Society (1925โ€“31) and showed his work at the Society of Wood Engravers, the Royal Academy, and The London Group.


Gertrude Anna Bertha Hermes was born in Bickley, Kent, on August 18, 1901. Louis August Hermes and Helene, nรฉe Gerdes, were from Altena, Germany, near Dortmund. She attended the Beckenham School of Art in around 1921. She then enrolled in Leon Underwood’s Brook Green School of Painting and Sculpture in 1922, where she met Eileen Agar, Raymond Coxon, Henry Moore, and Blair Hughes-Stanton, whom she later married in 1926. They divorced in 1933 after separating in 1931.

Hermes was a contributor to Joseph Bard’s Island (1931), which was a short-lived publication. She was also a Penguin Books commissioned illustrator.

Hermes began frequently exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1934, and in 1939, she participated in the Venice International Exhibition. Hermes completed a commission for the British Pavilion at the 1937 World Fair in Paris. From 1940 to 1945, she lived and worked in the United States and Canada. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she taught wood engraving and lino cutting at the Central School of Art in London (now Central St Martin’s). She also went to London Zoo for a drawing class. Since 1966, she has been teaching wood and lino block printing at the Royal Academy Schools.

Hermes was made a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1949. In 1963, she was made an Associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1971, she was made a full Royal Academician. Her linocut Stonehenge won the first prize in the Giles Bequest competition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1961. In 1981, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Her work can be found in several public collections, including the Tate and the National Gallery.

Notable Works

  • Spring bouquet, 1929, wood engraving
  • Leda and the Swan, 1932, sculpture
  • The warrior’s tomb, 1941, wood engraving
  • Bat and Spider, 1932, wood engraving
  • Other Cats and Henry, 1952, wood engraving
  • Kathleen Raine, 1954, sculpture
  • Peacock, 1961, bronze sculpture, for Ordsall High School in Salford


  • 1967 Bronzes and Carvings, Drawings, Wood Engravings, Wood and Lino Block Cuts, 1924โ€“1967 Whitechapel Art Gallery
  • 2008 North House Gallery
  • 2015 – 2016 Wild Girl: Gertrude Hermes The Hepworth Wakefield. First UK retrospective of Hermes’s work in 30 years.


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, May 30). Gertrude Hermes. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:42, September 22, 2021, from

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