Ethelbert White was a British artist primarily known for his wood engravings. White was born in Isleworth, Middlesex in 1891. He studied at the St John’s Wood Art School in London between the years of 1911 to 1912, where he first received instruction as a watercolourist. An accomplished painter, White’s was very well received in the London artistic community – he had been elected as part of the London Group in 1916, before becoming a member of the New English Art Club in 1921. Whilst the beginning of his artistic career had focussed on developing his use of watercolours, in the early 1920s White was asked to produce a series of colour wood engravings to illustrate a book for a publisher with whom he had had a very prosperous working relationship. Discovering his enjoyment in the medium, White began producing wood engravings of his own accord in an intriguing modern style. These independent works were often unusually large in scale. White’s time spent working with the medium was very prolific. Most often producing illustrations for books, White championed a more contemporary style of engraving that would become the cornerstone of his artistic career. However, by 1940 the artist ceased to produce wood engravings, choosing to focus entirely on the oils and watercolours he had continued to create whilst in his engraving period.
Unlike his wood engravings, White’s watercolours most often took the form of traditional English landscapes observed whilst the artist travelled around Surrey and Sussex. Among other accolades, he was one of the very first artists to become a member of the emerging Artists’ International Association. He was a founding member of the English Wood Engraving Society in 1925 and also a member of the Royal Watercolour Society. White exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy throughout his long career. The artist died in 1972. His work remains in several eminent regional collections throughout Britain.