Court Barn Gallery The Great War through Printmakersí Eyes - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index

1914 - 1918 The Great War through Printmakers’ Eyes

An exhibition organised by Elizabeth Harvey-Lee

of artists’ etchings, lithographs and woodcuts of the First World War

at the

Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden

Sat 4 October Sunday 12 October

Open daily 10am 4pm (closed Monday 6)

JAMES McBEY (1883 1959)

The Somme Front

Drypoint, 1917. 170 x 368 mm

Incongruous activities that making war and making art might seem, the Great War

generated more art than any other war before or since and prints formed an important

part of that production; the intrinsic ‘graphic’ nature of printed images lending itself

to expression of the theme.

The two earlier major examples of art about war, Jacques Callot’s Miseries of War and

Goya’s Disasters of War were both carried out as series of prints.

MAX BECKMANN (1884 1950)

In Memory of a Friend killed in Action

A portrait of Captain Martin Tube, Company Commander of the 59th Infantry Regiment

Wounded at the Battle of Tannenberg in August. Killed at Zwangorod 11 October 1914.

(Beckmann and Martin Tube’s sister had married in 1908)

Lithograph, 1914. 300 x 250 mm

In the Great War the initial call for volunteers and the subsequent general conscription,

meant that many artists, along with every other trade and profession, served as soldiers

and experienced first-hand fighting at the front. Being artists they also sketched at the front.

Artists who were printmakers used their leave, or in some cases their convalescence, back

at home to transpose their sketches into etchings, lithographs or woodcuts; to avail

themselves of studio facilities to print editions; and to organise exhibitions of their work.

Home-based artists found subject matter in the newly introduced anti-zeppelin searchlights,

the Red Cross and other nursing activities.


Searchlights over London 1915

Lithograph, 1915. 400 x 542 mm

The Great War was remarkable for its many ‘firsts’, reflected in the name it is more

generally known by today.

However, not only was it the first World war, fought simultaneously on several fronts,

involving many nationalities, it was also the first mechanised war, dominated by artillery,

resulting as never before in mass carnage, the ruination of towns and villages and

devastation of the landscape.

It was the first in which civilians were subject 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 the factories and on the land, so that for practical reasons skirt lengths

shortened and they began to wear trousers.

It was the first to touch every household nation-wide.

It was the first to establish commemoration of the dead in war memorials.

William Lionel Wyllie (1851 1931)

An Onshore Naval Gun Detachment

Etching, with an added pencil and watercolour drawing

of a signal hoist of flags. 204 x 252 mm

The selection of prints in this exhibition aims to show the wide range and rich variety of

themes which the war evoked, and makes reference to most of the above-listed

defining aspects of the Great War.

PAUL NASH (1889 1946)

The Mine Crater, Hill 60, Ypres Salient

Original lithograph, 1917. 352 x 455 mm

In addition to the work of British artists, the selection also includes prints by French, American,

Canadian, German, Austrian and Czech artists.

MAURICE BUSSET (1881 1936)

The Aerial Division supporting the Infantry in the Battle of the Somme, 1918

Lithograph, 1919. 271 x 449 mm (image)

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (offered at the special price of £10 at the exhibition).

A fully illustrated quarto paperback, it has 108 pages, 156 illustrations of which 26 are in colour.

A short introductory essay is followed by details of 99 items, 91 of which are for sale.

Price £15 by post directly from Elizabeth Harvey-Lee, 1 West Cottages, North Aston, OX25 5QB.

Tel: 01869 347164 Email: