“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”
– from Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen
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. I was pleased to be commissioned by the Folio Society to make a body of work to accompany a new publication of Wilfred Owen’s poetry to be published to mark the centenary of Owen’s death and Armistice Day. Owen was killed by machine gun fire while leading his men across the Sambre-Oise canal on 4th November 1918, one week before the signing of the Armistice on the 11th November 1918. I completed eight, colour relief engravings, two of which I submitted to the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition “Before my helpless sight” (Dulce et Decorum Est) and “With whom their love is done” (Spring Offensive). “No Prayers Nor Bells (Anthem for Doomed Youth)” forms part of this portfolio and I am pleased to offer the original edition for sale.
More engravings from this series can be viewed here.
I hope the work I have made in some way helps to mark the event, the war, Wilfred Owen and the tragic loss of life – Neil Bousfield 2018