Book Review: The Great War: As Recorded through the Fine and Popular Arts


by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, editors

London: Liss Fine Art / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2014. Pp. 240. Illus., index. $38.00 paper. ISBN: 0956713998

Artistic Perceptions of the Great War 

This attractive, profusely illustrated work is the catalog of an art exhibition held at Morely College in London in the autumn of 2014, organized by the authors as part of the commemoration of the centennial of the start of the Great War.

The book contains literally hundreds of images, some depicting works of great artistic merit, and others folk art or ephemera, but all of them help give the reader as sense of how contemporary people experienced and perceived the war. There are drawings, period photographs, paintings, toys, posters, advertising, soldier art, and many other objects related to war. Most of these are reproduced full color, and are accompanied by some notes on their provenance and purpose, often with some explanation of what is being depicted.

The items are organized into three broad categories, “Combat”, “The Home Front”, and “The Aftermath”, each of which has several sub-sections. In “Combat” there are sections includes materials relating to “Air”, “Sea,” “Soldiers and Land,” “Communications and Weapons of Destruction,” and “Desolation”. The other two main categories include sections such as “Convalescence,” “Women,” and “Remembering the War.”

Although some items deal with the U.S., Italy, and some of the other allies, most relate to France, Britain, and the Commonwealth in the war, with very little on Germany and her allies. Nevertheless, this is an interesting look at the intersection of war and art, and worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the contemporary experience of the war.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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