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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.

July 2008