Images and footage of the First World War seem to be featuring prominently on TV at the moment, no doubt part of the extra attention engendered by the marking of the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict in 1914.
In terms of works appearing at auction, scenes of the Great War
have been coming up more frequently than usual as vendors are
likely to be taking advantage of the additional interest.
Bonhams' sale of prints in London on April 15
entitled The Grosvenor School and Avant-Garde British
Printmaking, for example, will offer a notable selection of
As well as a lucrative selection of Nevinson prints of First
World War subjects, the auction will also offer a rare complete set
of the Petites Images de la Guerre sur le Front
Britannique series by the French artist Jean-Emile
Laboureur, who served as a translator for the British army
during the war, produced several portfolios of copper engravings
during this time depicting scenes he would have witnessed
first-hand among the troops. The suite at Bonhams dates from 1917
and comprises nine signed prints, each measuring 11.5 x 9in (29 x
As well as being evocative subjects in their own right, they
demonstrate the artistic qualities that Laboureur was able to
master (possibly by adopting a magnifying glass to help with the
execution), such as the finely conceived lines and delicate
The nine prints at Bonhams, which will be offered as a single
lot, form one of only four complete sets of this suite that are
known. They will be sold along with two letters from the artist and
a subscription note detailing the edition breakdown and the
corresponding retail prices.
The estimate is £8000-12,000.
Returning to the Trenches
Meanwhile, leading the charge among the CRW Wynne
Nevinson (1889-1946) wartime studies at the sale is a copy
of the sought-after print Returning to the Trenches. The
drypoint from 1916 showing a line of marching troops with pointed
bayonets is estimated at £60,000-80,000.
Another rare offering is the 1917 lithograph Loading the
Ship which depicts workers carrying cargo onto a vessel. From
an edition of 25, it was one of Nevinson's first three lithographs
which, along with Dawn at Southwark, 1916, and La
Villete, 1917, were exhibited together at the Senefelder Club
in London towards the end of January 1917.
The copy of Loading the Ship at Bonhams is estimated at
The auctioneers are also holding a separate exhibition of 18
Nevinson prints (mainly First World War period) from a private
collection, which will be on view for two weeks alongside the
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