Edward Wadsworth

The Port

c.1915

Artist
Edward Wadsworth 1889–1949
Medium
Woodcut on paper
Dimensions
Image: 187 x 127 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1970
Reference
P07119

Not on display

Display caption

Wadsworth’s approach to printmaking was cool and impersonal, deliberately avoiding any suggestion of personal ‘handwriting’. Woodcut is a difficult medium, but the precision he applied to it enabled him to emphasise the ‘machine-like character of his art’. This print resembles the illustrations Wadsworth produced for the Vorticists’ magazine BLAST.

The terrible destruction caused by the first world war (1914-18), the first fully mechanised war, undermined Vorticism’s celebration of the machine. Nevertheless, Wadsworth continued to be fascinated by machinery throughout his life.

Gallery label, July 2008

Catalogue entry

P07119 [from] THREE WOODCUTS circa 1915–18 [P07118-P07120]
Not inscribed.
Purchased from the d'Offay Couper Gallery (Gytha Trust) 1970.

(ii) Staircase with Scaffolding circa 1915.

Printed in two colours.

Image 6¾×4¼ (16×10.5) on paper 12⅛×9⅛ (40×23).
Coll: The artist's daughter, Mrs von Bethmann Hollweg, London; d'Offay Couper Gallery, London.

Exh: Abstract Art in England 1913–1915, d'Offay Couper Gallery, November–December 1969 (37–39, repr.).
Repr: (iii) is also reproduced in Studio International, CLXXVIII, 1969, p. 221.

The titles used here and in the d'Offay Couper exhibition were taken from an unpublished thesis on Vorticism by William Lipke. The two most abstract works (ii) and (iii) are dated c. 1915 because of some resemblance to Wadsworth's works reproduced in Blast, No. 2, published in July 1915; the other, more spatial design seems to reflect his experiences during the latter part of the war as a camouflage artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1968-70, London 1970

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