Julius Griffith (seated left), 1985 Diamond Jubilee committee , Society of Painters in  Watercolour Photo: Anthony (Tony) J. Batten

Julius Griffith (seated left), 1985 Diamond Jubilee committee , Society of Painters in  Watercolour
Photo: Anthony (Tony) J. Batten

Julius Griffith, 1912 - 1997

Julius Griffith was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, (Now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) under Charles H. Scott, F.H. Varley and J.W.G. MacDonald. However, he learned block printing techniques from American artist Bruce Inverarity, who lived in Vancouver for a while in the 20's. Griffith was immediately drawn to block printing because he enjoyed black and white contrast. He often completed a linocut in preparation for a watercolour painting. 

His interest in wood engraving led him to move to England with his family in 1928. He studied in London at the Central School of Arts & Crafts with Noel Rooke and the Royal College of Art under Sir William Ruthenstein and Edward Bawden.

His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of WWII. He joined the Red Cross and in 1941-42 he worked in a country-house hospital in Sussex. While there, he taught art and learned Russian. His russian became good enough that he joined the Royal Navy as an interpreter under the rank of Sub-Lieutenant.

In November 1946 Griffith returned to Canada and established himself as a graphic artist and wood engraver.

Griffith taught art at several institutions in Toronto, including:  Western Technical School
Ryerson Polytechnic Institute
Ontario College of Art
Central Technical School

He worked mostly in wood throughout the 1950’s, but as he moved into the 60’s his style turned bolder and stronger and he began to favour linoleum once again.

Julius Griffith passed away at his home in Toronto in 1997. 

Selected Collections
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, ON
Imperial War Museum, London, ON
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
Art Gallery of Hamilton, ON
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Carleton University, Ottawa, ON
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
The Feckless Collection, Vancouver, BC
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC