Paul Nash

Bomber in the Corn


Image released under

License this image

Not on display

Paul Nash 1889–1946
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 394 × 578 mm
frame: 670 × 840 × 25 mm
Presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee 1946

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

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry


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

You might like

In the shop