Tonks was himself a fine draughtsman whose knowledge of anatomy complemented his fascination with light effects. His mature works combine expressive manipulation of forms with pure, bright colour, while retaining an attraction for implicit anecdote. This led him to deplore the influence of Roger Fry and Post-Impressionism. During World War I he made pastel drawings of wounded soldiers for use in plastic surgery, and painted the large Advanced Dressing Station in France: 1918 (London, Imp. War Mus.), a government commission. His other commissions include Founders' Murals (1922) for University College, London. After retiring from the Slade he continued to defend craftsmanship and observation against modernism as represented by Fry.
J. Hone: The Life of Henry Tonks (London, 1939)
Henry Tonks and the ‘Art of Pure Drawing' (exh. cat., ed. L. Morris; Norwich, Sch. A. Mus., 1985)
Copyright material reproduced courtesy of Oxford University Press, New York
Article provided by Grove Art Online www.groveart.com