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Bone, Muirhead
Piccadilly Circus Piccadilly Circus
1915 1915

This powerful drypoint features Piccadilly Circus at night, with a view towards Leicester Square from Green Park. What is at first perceived as a pleasant scene of a cosmopolitan site at night quickly takes on a more sombre tone, as the grim realities of war makes themselves known. The streetlamps are covered to direct their illumination downward, as experienced during the winter of 1914-1915, while the searchlights augur the possibility of imminent danger. The velvety tones produced by the drypoint medium offer a luxurious tactility that contrasts starkly with the high-keyed emotion of the period. Furthermore, with the installation of electric signage beginning in 1908, this darkened image would have been especially powerful. It was executed as a contribution to the Belgian Relief Fund.

Sir David Muirhead Bone was apprenticed to an architect but took classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1898, he began to study etching and drypoint. He was appointed Britain’s first official war artist in 1916: he served with the Allied forces on the Western Front and in the navy in order to capture scenes for his propagandistic images. He also commissioned other war artists, not only incorporating their imagery into the service of the government but expanding their audiences.

 
Bone, Muirhead
Partick, Scotland 1876-Oxford, England 1953 Partick, Scotland 1876-Oxford, England 1953
Piccadilly Circus Piccadilly Circus
1915 1915
drypoint and etching on paper drypoint and etching on paper
40.1 x 55.4 cm
Gift of Simon and Caroline Davis, 2017 Gift of Simon and Caroline Davis, 2017
60-014.01

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