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This is Our Life martin-wenham-this-is-our-life-85199-1.jpg
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This is Our Life

Item Code: MW-85199-sv
Letter carving
Date of Work
Signed verso
Height (cm)
Width (cm)
Base price $3,355
Signed verso acrylic on cleft and carved ash wood in five parts.

Gifted to Wenham in 2018, half a slice from an enormous ash tree, which had to be felled after becoming unsafe.

Lettering on the end-grain would not be possible, so it was split into segments. Unexpectedly, these had curved sides, because the piece came from the branch, not the trunk, and so had grown asymmetrically. Various possibilities came to mind for short phrases, but in the end Wenham went back to what he regards as the seven most significant lines of poetry written in the twentieth century, from the last part of Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot. They seem to sum up what in outline a fulfilled life is like.

When the blocks are together, they are like our own biographies: you can read nothing from the outside, and only by exploring can the story be read, piece by piece.
Martin Wenham PortraitBorn in 1941, Wenham’s interest in lettering was stimulated at an early age. At university Wenham read botany and forestry, his artistic propensity aiding with precise observational drawing. Throughout this time an interest in pen-lettering persisted and after a research colleague requested a carved house-name in wood Wenham approached the professional carver Harry Spring, who showed him the basic technique of letter-cutting.

After a year Wenham left research and for the next 23 years taught in secondary, primary and special schools, with 9 years’ lecturing at the University of Leicester. He first exhibited his letter-cutting work in 1982; since 1984 it has been shown in the major British exhibitions of lettering arts. Wenham’s work is held in the Crafts Council’s Permanent Collection and in private collections in Britain, the USA, Germany, Japan and Puerto Rico.
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