CYRIL WALTER HODGES (1909-2004)

Cyril Walter Hodges maintained high standards throughout his long and prolific career as an illustrator, while also developing as a leading scholar of the Shakespearean stage.

Cyril Walter Hodges was born read more...

Cyril Walter Hodges maintained high standards throughout his long and prolific career as an illustrator, while also developing as a leading scholar of the Shakespearean stage.
Cyril Walter Hodges was born in Beckenham, Kent, on 18 March 1909, the son of an advertising manager. He was educated at Mount Pleasant School, Southbourne, and Dulwich College (1922-25). During his studies at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art, under E J Sullivan (1925-28), he began to be fired by the theatre, and first designed for the Everyman, Hampstead (1928-30), before working as an illustrator. Like Eric Fraser, he soon joined the agency of R P Gossop and began to contribute regularly to The Radio Times (from 1931). He was greatly supported by his wife, Greta. While living in New York (from 1936), he started to write his own children’s books, including Columbus Sails (1939), a work indicative of his care for both historical accuracy and full integration of picture and text.
In this early period he also painted murals, designed exhibitions and produced educational films.
After the Second World War, in which he served in the army, Hodges continued to develop as an illustrator while lecturing at Brighton Polytechnic School of Art (1959-69). He and his family lived in Bishopstone, near Seaford, and later in Lewes. As a practising Quaker, he was a member of Lewes Meeting House and involved in prison visiting.
His theatrical interests began to bear fruit in his advisory position in the building of the Mermaid Theatre (1951) and his classic books, Shakespeare and the Players (1948) and Shakespeare’s Theatre (1964), the second of which was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal. Receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Sussex in 1979, he went on to advise Wayne State University, Detroit, on its proposed rebuilding of the Globe Theatre. Working mainly in pen and ink and watercolour, he illustrated more than 90 books, the last of which demonstrated his continuing preoccupation with Shakespeare: Enter the Whole Army: A Pictorial Study of Shakespearean Staging (1999) and illustrations to the New Cambridge Shakespeare.
Hodges died in Moretonhampstead, Devon, on 26 November 2004.

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