FORGING AHEAD: THE INDUSTRIAL EFFORT

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FORGING AHEAD: THE INDUSTRIAL EFFORT

 

1. Christopher Nevinson, Acetylene Welders, 1917

Here we again see women at work in heavy industry, as acetylene welders, in the Efforts and Ideals 'Building Aircraft' series. Focused on the task in hand, despite the dangerous flying sparks and unpleasant fumes, they are producing the parts that will be assembled to create new aircraft. The women's work is shown as integral to the war effort at a time when many of the men were away. The Futurist style of this work seems appropriate to the theme of industrial mass-production.

2. George Clausen, The Furnace, 1917

George Clausen (1852–1944) supplied a series of six images on the theme of 'Making Guns', showing the efforts that lay behind production of the heavy weaponry of World War One – the large guns we see in Brangwyn's lithographs, for example. As with Nevinson's Acetylene Welders, Clausen makes dramatic use of the light thrown by fiery sparks and molten metal, as a silhouetted figure approaches the blast furnace. By the time he was commissioned to produce these works, Clausen was already well-established as a founder of the New English Art Club and Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy. He was appointed an official war artist in 1917, but was not required to serve abroad owing to his age. Clausen also produced a colour lithograph for the set of twelve 'Ideals', entitled The Reconstruction of Belgium (WA1919.31.2).

3. Muirhead Bone, A Ship-yard Seen from a Big Crane, 1917

This dramatic view from a big crane, looking down over a busy shipyard, is from the Efforts and Ideals series 'Making Ships'. The celebration of Britain's heavy industry was an unusual subject for art, but it gave scope for exciting new compositions, as we see here in this abstract arrangement of metal girders and cranes. Reflecting his initial architectural training, Bone's lithographs are meticulous in their detail, without losing a sense of the overall composition. Most of his 'Making Ships' views depict the shipyards from a distance, but in the fourth image of the series he shows the interior of a workshop on a more human scale. In World War Two Bone was a member of the War Artists' Advisory Committee, and he later served as a trustee of the Imperial War Museum.

 

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