Joan Dannatt has been making art for more than 80 years. Her first solo exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery will showcase works such as prints made at the precocious age of eight in 1933 as a book for her father, as well as surprisingly sophisticated linocuts both in imagery and technique, accompanied by handwritten poems.
Unsure whether her career lay in writing or painting, Dannatt studied typography, book design and printmaking at Reading University. She then went on to hone her editorial eye as an Art Advisor for the J Walter Thompson agency, where she selected and commissioned imagery for major advertising campaigns. Simultaneously, Dannatt created textiles, another form of printmaking, producing designs for cushions and curtains for the leading companies of the day, such as Heal's and Primavera. She also continued painting, inspired by travels to France and Italy or local scenes such as Hammersmith Bridge, Fitzroy Square and Islington.
With the demands of her job and family, Dannatt’s artistic activity went into decline. It was not until the early 1970s that she began to work seriously again, enlisting at Holmes Road in Camden. Here, she began experimenting in etching, a medium that was to become her professional speciality.
Inspired by the Suffolk landscape, Dannatt is equally drawn to still lives and domestic interiors. Regardless of her subject matter, she demonstrates a unique line. Whether trees in bloom, a lonely bicyclist or her beloved East Anglian marshes and beaches, hers is a quiet and civilized pictorial sensibility.