“..the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
Leisurely gestured – Fool!
And the splinters spat, and tittered
My Love! one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood
Till slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud
And the Bayonets’ long teeth grinned;
Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
And the Gas hissed”
– from The Last Laugh 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 published 2018 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.
More engravings from this series can be viewed here.
I hope this work The Last Laugh in some way helps to mark the event, the war, Wilfred Owen and the tragic loss of life – Neil Bousfield 2018