Born in New Zealand, Boswell moved to London in 1925 where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1932 he joined the Communist Party and gave up painting for politically motivated graphic work. The following year he became co-founder of the Artists International Association, along with Paul Hogarth (1917-2001) and James Fitton (1899-1982), and began to contribute sketches to left-wing periodicals, The Left Review and the Daily Worker (today known as the Morning Star). The latter, which Boswell includes in this print, was launched in 1930, the year that 2,500 unemployed men and women participated in a hunger march bearing a petition to present to Parliament signed by a million people. Although this print is far removed from the satirical caricatures he produced for these periodicals, for example His Majesty’s Servants (Tate P11663), The Station highlights Boswell’s sympathy with the plight of the unemployed and captures what Feaver describes as ‘the London of Graham Greene’s seedy, conscience-stricken agents, of Patrick Hamilton’s hungover failures in life, of Orwell’s down and out literary agents’ (Feaver, p.6).
William Feaver, Boswell’s London: Drawings by James Boswell Showing Changing London from the Thirties to the Fifties’, London 1978
James Boswell: Extracting the Dream Reality, exhibition catalogue, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London 1999