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The Society of Wood Engravers was founded in 1920 by a group of distinguished artists, including Lucien Pissarro, Gwen Raverat and Eric Gill. The purpose was to encourage the practice and patronage of wood engraving by organising exhibitions, which included both what were thought of as fine art prints, and illustrations. In the post-war years all forms of engraving fell out of fashion and the Society ceased to hold annual exhibitions. It was revived in the 1980s by an energetic group of engravers, including Hilary Paynter and Simon Brett, who organised touring exhibitions and arranged courses for those wishing to take up wood engraving. This was at a time when printmaking was being taught much less in art schools, and the practice of wood engraving needed a champion; and the SWE took on that role. There has always been a wide variety to the work in the annual exhibitions which include prints very much in the tradition of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), who discovered that by engraving on the end-grain of boxwood it was possible to produce much more detailed work than with wood cuts, for which different tools are used and cutting is along the grain of the wood. Membership of the Society is by selection at a meeting of its committee. There are also subscribers, who receive its magazine, Multiples, and the Newsletter, and who help with the running of the Society. Its officers are all volunteers, and it continues to attract talented young engravers, encouraging the best to become Members, and it welcomes new subscribers. Most of its archives are deposited with Manchester Metropolitan University.