Reynolds Stone was a British engraver and typographer. Born in 1909 at Eton College, where he was educated during his childhood, Stone read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Following his graduation in 1930 Stone worked for some time as an apprentice at the Cambridge University Press, where it was first suggested that he begin experimenting with engraving methods and typography design. His early aptitude for engraving, particularly on metal and wood, encouraged Stone to seek further instruction in the method before joining the printing firm Barnicott & Pearce. It was here that Stone began engraving in earnest, completing bookplates and other commissions with great skill. His success was such that Stone left the firm to work independently as a freelance wood engraver, receiving several high profile commissions very early in his career, such as the first Royal bookplate for Elizabeth of York and the first of many illustrations for Nonesuch Press. In 1937 Stone was commissioned to engrave a Royal Coat of Arms for the coronation of King George VI, a project which was shortly followed by several extensive book illustrations. During the Second World War, Stone served in the Royal Air Force and continued to engrave wherever possible throughout his years of service. The artist moved to Dorset after the War, where the surrounding landscape was of great inspiration. Botanical subjects, particularly trees and flowers, would continue to be significant elements in Stone’s work throughout his career. Stone was elected a member of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1948. His reputation for providing service to the Royal Family continued when, in 1953, Stone engraved the Royal Coat of Arms for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. His design for the official Coat of Arms for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, featured significantly on the British Passport and continues to be reproduced on all official documents to this day.
Stone was awarded the CBE in 1953. In the years to follow, the artist would execute hundreds of bookplate designs for significant authors and publishers. Stone was particularly well regarded for his lettering, gaining great acclaim for his skill. In the light of this, the artist was asked to cut a great many memorials in stone for celebrated British figures such as Winston Churchill, T.S. Eliot and Benjamin Britten which can be seen today in Westminster Abbey. Stone died in 1979. His work remains in the collection of the Dorset County Museum, and can be seen in the entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum.