Roy Morgan RCA (1928 – 1990) was a Welsh illustrator and woodcut artist, he spent his childhood in Aberystwyth and attended Ardwyn Grammar School there before joining the Royal Navy. After Navel service he enroled in Cardiff College of Art going on to study at the Royal College of Art in London under Edward Bawden CBE RA (see Horne, 1984). Commenting on Morgan's output Horne informs us 'he has used wood engraving (including coloured woodcuts) and lithographs for his illustrations ; and the subject matter of his books that have been seen is concerned with medieval or contemporary romantic legend' (1984). Morgan produced twelve colour lithographs for the Lion and Unicorn Press’ 1956 edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by playwright and historian Ormerod Greenwood (1907 – 1989). The previous year Morgan had produced an impressive jacket design in colour and various monochrome wood engravings for Barbara Leonie Picard’s Stories of King Arthur and His Knights (1955). That jacket design like many of his works for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight emphasised the landscape, displaying the undulating hills and verdant woodland that surround both Arthur’s knights and a fortress in the right top corner of the composition.
This tendency in a number of his Gawain lithographs is seen by Lupack and Lupack in Illustrating Camelot (2008) as ‘a sign that nature dwarfs the world of knights and chivalry’ (6). This feature makes the changing seasons and wild land a main feature in ways that echo the poems hunt and traveling scenes, which had not been a feature of other illustrations to that point. The images of the works below were kindly taken by the Royal College's collections and archive staff and are reproduced here with their permission.
Artbiogs.co.uk. (2022) Morgan Roy S. 1928-1990 | Artist Biographies. [online] Available at: <https://www.artbiogs.co.uk/1/artists/morgan-roy-s> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
Greenwood, O. (1956) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Lion and Unicorn Press.
Horne, A. (1984) The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators, Antique Collectors Club.
Lupack, B. and Lupack, A. (2008) Illustrating Camelot. Cambridge, D.S. Brewer.
Picard, B.L. (1955) Stories of King Arthur and his Knights. Oxford University Press.
Royalacademy.org.uk. (2022) Roy Morgan | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] Available at: <https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/roy-morgan> [Accessed 20 July 2022].