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BONE, Muirhead.

War Drawings.

Edition de Luxe. Signed Proofs from the Collection presented to the British Museum by His Majesty's Government.

Published: London: Published by Authority of the War Office by Country Life Limited and George Newnes Limited, 1917–8

Stock code: 71745

Price: £4,500

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First edition, first impression. The Edition de Luxe was limited to 50 sets with each of the 60 lithographic proofs signed by Muirhead Bone in pencil, and with his embossed monogram, approx. size 530mm x 395mm. In 1916 William Rothenstein, a friend of Bone and a fellow member of the Society of Twelve, proposed that an artist should be sent to the front to record the War, Bone was chosen for the task. He arrived in August, 1916 at the height of the Somme Offensive and toured the Southern battle-fields working rapidly in various media – pencil, pen, charcoal and chalk – sending back over 150 finished drawings by October. “He recorded mostly life behind the lines illustrating the settings for war rather than battle scenes – the work of the medical services, encampments, soldiers of duty, soldiers marching, landscapes and ruined towns…The detail and accuracy of Bone’s drawings provided an authentic, eyewitness record of the immense logistic efforts of the Somme, one that proved immensely popular and resulted in more artists being commissioned.” [IWM Somme web-site]. Bone has been described as one of the greatest British draughtsmen and the composition of these “masterly lithographs” [DNB] is a clear confirmation of that judgement. Very rarely encountered complete, the lithographs having often been sold off individually, no sets traced at auction in the last 20 years.

Folio. 6 light card fascicules each containing a loose contents leaf and 10 signed proof lithographic prints. Housed in a black cloth solander box. Total 60 plates. Wrappers of parts split to spines, edges nicked and frayed. Some edges of plates browned or a little dusty, plate xvii with a repaired tear to the right margin, plate li with small chip to lower margin and small tear to left margin, lix and lx with creasing and small tears to left margin.

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