Paul Nash

Bomber in the Corn

1940

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 394 x 578 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1946
Reference
N05715

Display caption

This is one of a series of six ‘Raiders’ begun in about August 1940 for the Air Ministry. Nash saw these watercolours as a continuation of his earlier work on the theme of ‘the monster in the field’, which in earlier incarnations consisted of strange misshapen tree trunks. Nash hoped his ‘Raiders’ would be published as war propaganda. This was never done. Nevertheless, the interruption of the machine here implies something a lot more threatening than a Surrealist juxtaposition of unlikely objects.  

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N05715 BOMBER IN THE CORN 1940

Inscr. ‘Paul Nash’ b.r. and, on back, ‘Paul Nash Bomber in the Corn’.
Pencil and watercolour, 15 1/2×22 3/4 (39·5×58).
Presented by the War Artists' Advisory Committee 1946.
Exh: National War Pictures, National Gallery, 1940–3; Leeds, April–June 1943 (66); National War Pictures, R.A., October–November 1945 (218).
Lit: Bertram, 1955, pp.271–2.
Repr: Studio, CXXIII, 1942, p.9 (in colour); Eric Newton, War through Artists' Eyes, 1945, p.74 (in colour); V. & A., Twentieth Century British Water-Colours, 1958, pl.27.

One of a series of six ‘Raiders’ begun in about August 1940 for the Air Ministry (e.g. Eates, 1948, pls. 96–9). On the back there is a rough pencil drawing, crossed out, of a complete plane on the ground, possibly a sketch for ‘Raider on the Moors’ (Oxford; repr. Eates, op. cit., pl.96).

Nash (quoted in Bertram, loc. cit.) saw these watercolours as in part a continuation of the theme of ‘the monster in the fields’, e.g. the oil ‘Monster Field’ of 1939 (Durban; repr. in colour, Eates, op. cit., pl.93). He hoped that the set would be published as propaganda, but this was never done (letter of c.9 August 1940 in Imperial War Museum files).

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