It is exactly one hundred years on Sunday 4th November 1918, since the war poet and soldier Wilfred Owen was killed by machine gun fire while leading his men across the Sambre-Oise, just one week before the signing of the armistice marking the end of The Great War.
To commemorate, we are launching a specially commissioned portfolio of limited edition engravings by Neil Bousfield. Neil was commissioned by the Folio Society to make a body of work to accompany a new publication of Wilfred Owen’s poetry, published to mark the centenary of Owen’s death and of Armistice Day. These seven beautiful engravings are now available to purchase at Rabley Gallery as a special offer portfolio set or individually.
“When the centenary of the First World War was approaching I knew I wanted to make something that marked the event which we should never forget.” Neil Bousfield
Emotions and experiences, captured within memory, recorded as narrative and plotted against geographical locations. As such, Bousfield chose to research some of the locations where Owen was posted. He made drawings, not only inspired by emotions and situations captured within the poetry, he also used trench maps as a source. These were the very trenches Owen inhabited and where he fought.
Anthem for Doomed Youth poem by Wilfred Owen
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Bousfield is one of the most talented engravers working today – the following description of his practice may require slow digestion and much admiration! Neil is an elected member of The Society of Wood Engravers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. His work can be found in numerous public collections including the National Art Library; V & A, London; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Ohio State Univ. Libraries, USA.
Engraving is a traditional relief printing method involving cutting into the surface of a block which is then inked and a printing is made from the raised surface remaining. A block is engraved (cut) and the whole edition is printed with the first colour. The block is then re-engraved and printed with a second colour, revealing the first colour on the print where the second set of engraved lines have removed areas. This process is then repeated for the third and fourth colours and any subsequent colours. The engraver usually works by engraving and printing from light to dark colours.
The portfolio may be viewed online or in person at Rabley Gallery in Wiltshire or in our London studio by appointment (details below). View/download the catalogue and price list.
If you would like to order an individual print or the whole portfolio of seven engravings at a special launch price, either:
- download and fill out the order form (pdf) and email or post back – download order form
- or enter your name and contact details in our online form and we will get back to you with availability and purchase options.
If you have any further enquiries then please email us.
T +44 (0)1672 511999