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A Terrible Beauty: British Artists in the First World War

Gough, Paul


Paul Gough


After war broke out across Europe in 1914 the Vorticist painter Wyndham Lewis advised: ‘You must not miss a war, if one is going! You cannot afford to miss that experience’. He may have been playfully ironic, but he recognised that the Great War presented a set of complex challenges, that might make or break reputations at a critical juncture in British art. Many artists, poets and writers have had to live with the uncomfortable recognition that conflict fuels their muse, invigorating the imagination and honing their creativity.

This book explores a diverse group of those artists and their work, from the conservative draughtsmanship of Scottish etcher Muirhead Bone to the irreverent angularity of the young gunner William Roberts; from the publicity-soaked antics of Richard Nevinson to the deluded ambitions of Sir William Orpen. In it, Paul Gough examines the work of those who were made famous by the war, and those whose reputations were almost irretrievably damaged. He explores in detail the wartime lives of fifteen artists – many of whom saw active service -- who are central to the way we now visualize the War on the Western Front and on more distant battlefields in Macedonia and Gallipoli.


Gough, P. (2010). A Terrible Beauty: British Artists in the First World War. Sansom and Company

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date Jan 1, 2010
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781906593001
Keywords war, art, Orpen, Muirhead Bone, Paul Nash, John Nash, Nevinson, Tonks, William Roberts, Wyndham Lewis, Adrian Hill, David Bomberg, military sketching, Paul Maze
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