1933 - present
Photograph of Philippa Webb, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Books and manuscripts, Drawings and prints, Painting, Textiles and clothing
Book Artist, Book Binder, Calligrapher, Designer, Draftsperson, Etcher, Illustrator, Landscape Painter, Lithographer, Needleworker, Painter, Portraitist, Printmaker, Still life Painter
Philippa Webb’s earliest memories concern creating art in her own way. Born in Melbourne, Australia, and always encouraged by her non-artistic family, Webb has indulged her talents for drawing, painting, calligraphy, writing and needlework throughout her life, after winning her first prize for drawing aged three years! Despite a career, family and travel, Webb always found time to create pictures in various formats and styles. But though loving the painting process, Webb was never completely satisfied with her self-taught abstracts, still lifes, landscapes and portraits. On reviewing her aspirations, she decided to combine her two great loves, painting and writing, to paint a story.
On entering this work into a National Trust competition, and being awarded the first prize of her adult life, Webb went on to paint another story. This also won her a prize and she was astonished to be called a natural naïve artist. The noted judge encouraged her, “Do not stop now you have found your own unique style.” Webb’s colorful, detailed and humorous paintings celebrating everyday family life are now eagerly sought in Australia, her house portraits and cityscapes are particularly popular.
Intrigued by the printmaking process, Webb learned etching, lithography and relief printing, surprisingly able to produce naïve images in these diverse art forms. It was a natural progression to then design and illustrate artist books, bringing together all of her talents as writer, calligrapher, printmaker, designer and bookbinder. Always choosing an Australian theme, and with her innate whimsical humor, Webb’s books have found ready acceptance in fine art departments of national and state library collections in Australia, England and the United States.
Seventy years after winning her first prize, Webb doubts she will ever run out of projects for her creative energy.
Biography courtesy of Philippa Webb
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts