Winter 2017

Ardizzone at peace and in conflict

Edward Ardizzone’s experiences as a war artist gave an extra depth and toughness to his work

Like a number of his contemporaries, Edward Ardizzone (1900-79) aimed for a deliberate anachronism of style. Yet more than most of them, he made old methods work effectively to depict the modern world. For many British artists of his generation, there was bound to be a crisis brought on by the challenge of Modernism. At first sight, Ardizzone seems exempt from this, and did not appear to lose confidence or look for new directions, as did Edward Bawden and John Piper. Yet beneath the surface there was undoubtedly self-questioning and anxiety.


Cover and spine for The Blackbird in the Lilac: Poems for Children, Oxford University Press, 1952. Ardizzone numbered books by James Reeves, a ‘dear friend’ among his most pleasurable commissions.
Top: West Country Manoeuvres: We Are Held Up by Ferocious Home Guards, 1941. Ink and wash on paper, courtesy Imperial War Museum.

Edward Ardizzone.

Alan Powers is the author of Edward Ardizzone, Artist and Illustrator, published by Lund Humphries, 2016

Read the full version in Eye no. 93 vol. 24, 2017


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