The artist and wood engraver [John] Frederick William Charles Farleigh(1900-1965), was born in London in 1900. He left school at 14 to become anarticled apprentice at the Artists Illustrators Agency, London, where his workinvolved lettering, wax engravings and black and white drawings for pressadvertising. At the same time he began to attend evening classes in drawingat the Bolt Court School. In 1918 he was called up for service in the armyand served until the armistice in November of that year. In 1919 he completedhis apprenticeship and obtained a government grant which enabled him to studyfull time for three years at the London County Council Central School of Artsand Crafts (later the Central School of Art and Design). Amongst his teachersthere were Bernard Meninsky and Noel Rooke who introduced him to wood engraving.From 1922 to 1925 Farleigh taught art at Rugby School before returning to Londonto take up a part-time post at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, teachingantique and still-life drawing and later, illustration.
Whilst continuing his work as a teacher, John Farleigh pursued the threestrands of his artistic career: as a designer, perhaps most notably for LondonTransport (1933 - 1963); as a book illustrator, employing his great talentsas a wood engraver and as a producer of fine, individual prints, again fromwood engraving.
In 1932 Farleigh received a great deal of acclaim and recognition for hisillustrations to an edition of The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God,by George Bernard Shaw (London: Constable, 1932). Farleigh worked closelywith Shaw on developing the illustrations for the book which proved a greatcommercial and artistic success.
Farleigh exhibited at the Royal Academy summer exhibitions from 1937 until1964 and had a number of solo exhibitions at the Leicester Galleries and LefegravevreGallery, London, between 1938 and 1946.
In 1940 Farleigh was appointed as chairman of the Arts and Crafts ExhibitionSociety (now the Society of Designer Craftsmen). In 1946 the Society, in cooperationwith the Red Rose Guild, the Senefelder Club, the Society of Wood-Engraversand the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, formed the Crafts Centre of GreatBritain (now Contemporary Applied Arts). Farleigh was chairman of the Centrefrom 1950 until 1964.
John Farleigh was elected a member of the Society of Wood Engravers in1925 and a fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in1948. In 1949 he was appointed CBE for his work in founding the Crafts Centre.
John Farleigh died on 30 March 1965.