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Muirhead Bone (1876-1953):
Study for Winter Mine-Laying off Iceland, circa 1942
Framed (ref: 6531)
Charcoal and coloured chalk on paper
29 x 39 in. (73.5 x 99 cm)
Provenance: The Artist's Family; thence by descent
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 3.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 3, page 42-43.
Winter Mine-Laying off Iceland, 1942 (collection of the IWM 1932) 127 x 160 cms.
Wednesday 25 June 1940
…Muirhead Bone called at the School to ask Albert [Rutherston, Ruskin Master of Drawing] & me to come to tea in Gavin’s rooms in St. John’s, to look at the progress of his picture of the mine -layer [Winter Mine-laying off Iceland, completed c.1942]...Saw the big drawings of the men laying the mines from the stern of the special ship which does this work, also other drawings of such ships’ activities, some of them very secret and unpublishable at present, which I ought not to have seen: all done at sea, under very difficult conditions, with obstacles that only Bone could surmount…
From: The Diaries of Randolph Schwabe: British Art 1930-48, edited by Gill Clarke published by Sansom & Co. (2016).
Muirhead Bone was appointed as one of Britain’s first official war artist in May 1916. His small black and white drawings were widely reproduced in war-time government-funded publications. During WW2 Muirhead Bone was one of three artists to be appointed a member of WAAC committee (along with, Percy Jewett and Walter Russell). In early 1940, at the age of 64 years, Muirhead Bone was again appointed as a war artist, commissioned as a major in the Royal Marines. His pictures of the Second World were on a much larger scale. In London he drew St Paul’s Cathedral from the ruined roof of St Bride’s Church and the destruction in the East End docks. In Scotland he drew battleships, and minesweepers at work in stormy seas. This study for Winter Mine-Laying off Iceland, 1942, (collection of the IWM (LD 1932) is almost identical to the finished version though smaller (the IWM oil measures (127 x 160 cm) and there is a slight difference in the positioning of the figure to the far right.