Wyndham Lewis

Vorticist Composition


Gouache and chalk on paper
Frame: 529 x 365 x 19 mm
image: 375 x 173 mm
Presented by Miss Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963

Display caption

This work was previously owned by the Vorticist artist Helen Saunders. It was originally framed with a dark silver paper mount, which would have enhanced the mechanistic effect suggested by the harsh angular forms. As they lean precariously to one side, these forms also look like tottering architectural structures. Of all the Vorticists, Lewis was perhaps most consistently interested in the theme of the modern metropolis. The overall sensation of movement is achieved through the use of vertiginous, diagonal lines, which epitomise Lewis's Vorticist style. Despite the feeling of instability and agitation there is also a sense of order and strength of definition.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘WL’ b.l. and on a separate piece of similar paper stuck on below design ‘Wyndham Lewis. 1915.’
Gouache and black chalk on paper, 15 1/4×8 1/8 (39×20·5); composition framed in pencil, 12 3/8×7 (31·5×17·75).
Presented by Ethel M. Saunders in memory of her sister 1963.
Coll: Helen Saunders (d. 1963); Ethel M. Saunders.

Helen Saunders, to whom this drawing belonged, was associated with Wyndham Lewis during his Vorticist period. For three of her own Vorticist drawings see Volume II of this Catalogue.

The drawn margin down the right-hand side of the design, and its prolongation, is marked ‘12’ and ‘13’ at those distances in inches from the top.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I