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WADSWORTH, Edward.

The Black Country.

With an introduction by Arnold Bennett.

Published: London: The Ovid Press, 1920

Stock code: 111808

Price: £475

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First edition, first impression, uncommon. “In 1920 the Leicester Galleries gave Wadsworth a one-man show. The catalogue introduction was by Arnold Bennett. Wadsworth’s angular but legible ink and wash images of Black Country furnaces, quarries, and outlandish slag heaps were acclaimed” (ODNB). Although Wadsworth had not served on the Western Front, these haunting scenes of industrial desolation echo the desolation of the Flanders battlefields. “The lessons in construction that Wadsworth learnt in the discipline of Vorticist composition are nevertheless visible in the Black Country works, even if its idiom is different. ‘Mineral Lines’ and ‘Ladle Slag Round Oak II’ both contain passages which appear almost entirely abstracted into Vorticist angularities, but this is unusual. Vorticist language is used at the margins, and these drawings are in the main realistic in idiom” (David Peters Corbett, The modernity of English art 1914-30, 1997, p. 189). The Ovid Press was established by John Rodker and produced only seventeen books in a three-year period between 1919 and 1922, but his list was distinguished, including Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, Joyce and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Quarto. Original natural linen spine lettered in dark green, pale green linen over boards. 20 monochrome lithograph plates (with tissue guards intact). Binding a little used, light wear to corners, a few old pale stains and marks. A good copy.

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