Biographical / Historical
Marion Stancioff was born Carolyn Marion Mitchell in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on August 8, 1903. Her father, an American business man, developed the Sao Paolo and Rio Light Company. Stancioff spent most of her childhood in the United States but moved to London with her mother after the First World War. Here she developed her interest in wood-engraving. She studied with Dimitri Galanis who trained her in the use of the “multiple tool” device for cutting closely laid parallel lines. Stancioff was a founding member of the British Society of Wood Engravers. Her work can be found at numerous museums including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert, Ashmolean, and the Art Museum of Manchester University.
In 1925, Stancioff married Ivan Stancioff, son of the Bulgarian minister to London. The couple met at a charity ball in aid of Bulgarian refugees. Ivan Stancioff’s father, Dimitri, had been chief adviser to King Ferdinand; while his mother was a Savoyard countess by birth who had been lady-in-waiting to Ferdinand’s mother, a daughter of Louis Philippe of France.
As a diplomat’s wife, Stancioff spent much of the ensuing period in Sofia and Rome. During the Second World War, she resided in Switzerland with her seven children, having relocated after her husband was posted to Romania as consul general, in 1943. The family reunited after the war and emigrated to the United States where they settled on a small farm in Urbana, Maryland.
Stancioff continued engraving through the forties, but became increasingly interested in the study of graphic symbols. After her husband’s death in 1972, Stancioff returned to London as a more convenient venue for her research. A long-term plan to publish her work was not realized before her death at the age of ninety on July 30, 1994.
This collection of Stancioff’s personal papers includes copious notes reflecting her eclectic interests in subjects ranging from art and literature to economics and politics, as well as religion and Catholicism – Stancioff converted in the 1920s.
As a diplomat’s spouse she became acquainted with many notable individuals including British diplomat George Rendel, Pope John XXIII, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Day, and Anne Fremantle. Pound and Fremantle, in particular, became close friends.