LEWIS, John Noel Claude

1912 - 1996

John Noel Claude Lewis was born at Rhoose on the west side of Cardiff, on 11 December 1912, only son of Claude Pritchard Lewis (1 March 1882-31 May 1958), a bank manager, and his wife Margaretta Mary née Morris (29 July 1888-1956), who married at Fulham, London in 1910. Lewis was educated at Charterhouse School and originally destined for the medical profession but, moving to Deptford, studied art at Goldsmiths College under Rowland Hilder (1905-1993), who also awoke his passion for ships and the sea; among his fellow-students was Denton Welch (1915-1948). An author, illustrator, graphic designer, and typographer, in 1935 he set up as a freelance illustrator, and was doing well until the outbreak of the Second World War, which he spent in camouflage, a neglected art between the wars that had to be revived. In 1939, an artist and lance-bombardier in the army, living with his parents at 9 Castle Street, Farnham, Surrey and was later commissioned, which took him to Canada. James Gardner (1907-1995), who was also in the camouflage section and who had made Puffin Books a household word, introduced him to W. S. Cowell Ltd., of Ipswich, who wished to move the company into printing more substantial books than Puffin's. The first product was 'A Handbook of Printing Types' (1947), a manual and a showcase of Cowell's resources, notably in the technique, then still new for books, of photolithography. His purchase of scrapbook of ephemera at an Ipswich second-hand bookseller, led him to pursue and collect these then unconsidered trifles that made his book 'Printed Ephemera' a pioneering study. He married at Guildford in late 1940, Griselda Margaret Rideout (28 August 1917-25 March 2014), also an artist, and they settled at Cumberland House, Manningtree in Essex but later moved to Meadow Cottage, Great Bealings, Woodbridge, Suffolk. One-time tutor at the Royal College of Art, he and his wife were the authors of several books. John Noel Claude Lewis died at died at Great Bealings, Woodbridge on 22 December 1996.

Works by This Artist