1914-1918 The Great War through Printmakers' Eyes

Elizabeth Harvey-Lee

Introduction to First World War printmaking, with a fully catalogued sequence of printed images which portray almost every defining aspect of WWI,
by artists from both the Allied and Central Powers, many of whom saw active service as well as being commissioned as official war artists.
Publication date:
September 2014
Publisher :
Elizabeth Harvey-Lee
Illustration :
139 black & white
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781902863351

Dimensions : 210 X 148 mm


• First book devoted exclusively to World War I printmaking (rather than to painting)
A repository of images not easily available elsewhere.

Over 150 images 'illustrating' the First World War in a selection of artists' original etchings, lithographs and woodcuts. A catalogue
produced to accompany a centenary, selling , exhibition at the Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden.

Following a 6½ page Introductory Essay and 1½ page Chronology, the prints are arranged in chronologicsequence to reflect the progress of the war. They include scenes of fighting, studies of soldiers and war damage on the Western Front, the Eastern Front, in the Dardanelles, in Palestine, the war at sea, in the air, hospitals and Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war, refugees, the Home Front, London searchlights, women's activities as land girls and munitions workers, soldiers on leave; and conclude with the after-impact and building of war memorials. The selection was made with the aim of representing almost every defining aspect of the Great War, that led to it being named the First World War. Fought simultaneously on several fronts, involving many different nationalities, it was the first mechanised war, dominated by artillery, resulting as never before in mass carnage, the ruination of towns and villages and the devastation of the landscape. It was the first war in which civilians were subjected to air raids, the first with aerial combat and submarine warfare, the first to use the tank and gas as weapons, that saw the introduction of the tin hat and the invention of dazzle camouflage. Equally it was the first war in which women played an important role, not just as nurses but in replacing men in factories and on the land (resulting in shorter skirt lengths and women wearing trousers), the first with general conscription, it was the first to touch every household.

The work of 58 different artists is included. The majority are British, but French, American and Canadian artists from among the Allies and German, Austrian, Galician and Czech artists from the Central Powers are also represented. Many of the artists were themselves on active service for periods and several were appointed official war artists.

Coinciding with the period known as the Etching 'Boom', the prints produced during the First World War are impressive in their quantity, quality and variety. The sequentilaly numbered 98 items selected for the catalogue mirror the wide range and rich variety of themes which the war evoked and to which artists responded. The images are equally a testamnet and memorial to those who served. Graphic art is seen at the service of 'graphic' content.