Ruth Collet's prints
My mother who lived from 1909 to 2001 started making linocuts in the 1950s when she was in her late forties.  Up until then she had mainly been a drawer and a painter although she had studied etching in the thirties in Paris at the studio of Stanley William Hayter.

To begin with she did prints for Christmas cards but in about 1960 she started to illustrate old testament stories as well.  These bible prints were nearly all made to be place cards for the Seder night supper at the Westminster Synagogue in London which she attended.  Apart from cards of various kinds she did some, only about 20 in all, linocuts as pictures in their own right.

The prints are very seldom titled and not often dated.  Signing is also haphazard.  Wherever  I have discovered an original title I have put it in inverted commas on this website.  Otherwise I have given the prints titles which I think are suitable although they may not be very imaginative. In 2003 when I was photographing all the prints I could find, I received help from Rabbi Albert Friedlander with naming some of the biblical subjects.

In 2003 when I made a catalogue of my mother's prints, I collected together all the prints that I owned and those of my two sisters, Jane and Rachel, and looked through the collections of Rabbi Friedlander, Ruth's sister Esther and my nephew Daniel.  At that time I found 184 different prints where original copies existed.  Undoubtedly if I had approached other friends and relations and possible members of the synagogue I could have found more.  After a few months one more did turn up for which I have found only one copy which belonged to a friend of a cousin.  He sent me a photo of this stray print and I have been able to include it on this website on the Contact page.

Arguably Ruth's lino cuts were her most original work but she did not take her printmaking as seriously as her painting.  Given the number of prints she produced she must have spent a large part of her life at it; a lot of time at a trestle table in her bedroom using the back of a spoon for a press.  Some of the very best, those illustrating the book of Jonah, were done in 1990 when she was 80.  After that I believe she made no new linocuts although she probably made prints from the old blocks.

For many of the prints Ruth made, she used 2 or 3 different colours, a separate block for each colour. She mainly printed onto tissue paper which she stuck onto thin card with a dab of glue in the corners.  For each design she may have made made prints in several colour combinations, some more pleasing than others I believe.  The colours of the prints on the website are just those the prints that have ended up with me by chance

Organisation of this website

I have arranged the biblical prints according to the order of the books of the bible the stories they depict appear in.  The tab in the column on the left indicates the first story to be found in a book but if you click on that tab the other stories from that book are then revealed.

I have then included passover supper place cards which were not biblical illustrations and lastly I have put in a few of the Christmas cards that Ruth made, some for other people's use and some for herself to send to friends.

Naomi Roberts.