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WWI Drawings, Sketches and Artworks

The Western Front by Muirhead Bone

The following two drawings are from The Western Front, a two-volume set of drawings with captions by Muirhead Bone, published in 1917. Bone's drawings included sketches from the battlefield, behind the front, with the Royal Navy and in the plants producing the weapons of war. I may add more of Bone's work later. From the author's collection.

Erecting Aeroplanes

Plate LXII
Erecting Aeroplanes

A great contrast to the scenes in the gun shop. Here everything is light and delicate, the bright, varnished wood curved to delicate shaptes like violins, the women flitting with their needlecraft around the wide, dazzling planes and the brilliant pigmy engines shining like jewels - all seem gay and exhilarating after the sombre company of the guns. There is even a lightsome airiness about the thought that these delicate creations fly away from the makers' hands when completed and do not burden any railway with their transit.

An Aeroplane on the Stocks
An Aeroplane on the Stocks

Another view of the same shop. Close to, the propeller seems a great thing, wonderfully sublte in its graceful curves.

Aerial Combat or Models and Fakes?

The following and other images have appeared in various publications, often captioned as actual air-to-air photographs of aerial combat in 1917. The images were originally published in the 1930s in an anonymous biography of a Royal Flying Corps officer and were claimed to be authentic. Many, including myself, who have studied the photos feel they are staged fakes, using model aircraft and real photographs as backgrounds. If the artist was an actual combat pilot, these images may well be as close as we will ever come to the real scenes. The original captions are included below each image.

A Dogfight

A dogfight
Have got the camera pointed off at an angle
Have got the camera pointed off at an angle


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E-mail to Randy Wilson: avhistory@rwebs.net