William Greengrass 1896-1970

William Greengrass was born in 1892, the son of a school teacher in Hertfordshire. William left school in 1908 and started a career at the Post Office but by 1911 he had joined the army and trained as a signal lineman in the Royal Engineers. In 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres, Greengrass volunteered for cable laying on the front line and was shot in the foot. He lay wounded in no-man’s land for some days and gangrene set in, leading to the later amputation of his leg. 

After the war Greengrass became an Assistant Keeper at the Victoria & Albert Museum and in his spare time produced accomplished wood engravings. In 1930 he attended Flight’s classes at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art and quickly learned Flight’s techniques. In fact, Flight featured his work in both of his publications – his 1927 ‘Linocuts: a Hand-Book’ and in 1934 in his ‘The Art and Craft of Lino Cutting’. Greengrass also exhibited in Flight’s Redfern and Ward Gallery exhibitions in the 1930’s. 

His linocuts typically focus on speed, movement and rhythms but like many of the Grosvenor School artists, this emphasis could be attributed to subject matters beyond the modern machines of speed celebrated by the Italian Futurists. ... read more

William Greengrass Prints

Dorset Town

William Greengrass: Dorset Town, 1935