Printmaker, sculptor and designer, Hermes has been credited as linking the British wood-engraving movement to modernism.

In addition to being a skilful practitioner of graphic art, Gertrude Hermes (1901-83) wished to be remembered for her sculpture and her best work is found amongst her carvings and bronzes.

The twin themes of fecundity and duality characterise her art, shown in ‘Chrysalis I' [hornbeam skittle, 1938]. Hermes was a strong woman. Without independent means she courageously maintained her artistic practice while raising 3 children alone after the breakdown of her marriage.

The main part of the archive consists of over 200 photographs of Hermes and her work, 1920-1990. These record her sculptures and architectural work, such as the fountain at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1931.

There are also photographs of Hermes at exhibitions, in her studio and with friends and a drawing by Hugh Cromyn of Hermes working on her sculpture 'Two in One', c.1937, which is in Leeds Museums & Galleries' sculpture collection (Acc. No. 2000.0016).

Further material includes sixteen press cuttings, 1928-1999; over thirty exhibition catalogues and private view cards, 1932-1980; other printed material relating to Hermes, 1932-1997.

One of the most interesting discussions documented in the collection is a series of letters between Hermes and the Royal Academy in 1966, about why women Academicians were not allowed to dine with the men.

The archive includes notes on the sculptor made by her daughter, Judith Russell. These complement research notes on Hermes bequeathed to the HMI Archive by David Brown (1925-2002), compiled for his catalogue essay to accompany the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition on Gertrude Hermes in 1981.