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'Tanks', 1916

Lithograph after Muirhead Bone, 1916, published as part of 'The Western Front' series, 1917.

In May 1916, Charles Masterman, head of the British War Propaganda Bureau, appointed Muirhead Bone as the first Official War Artist. He was sent to France the following month with the honorary rank of second lieutenant and paid a salary of £500 a year. He specialised in black and white sketches that could be reproduced easily in propaganda literature and sold in aid of the war effort. Bone believed that his work was authentic, showing 'war, as it is'.

Bone was instructed 'to make drawings of appropriate war scenes' and many of them were included in a collection called 'The Western Front'. 12,000 copies were printed for propaganda purposes. Of the newly developed Mark I tank, Bone wrote, 'this is drawn from the actual tanks and is the only drawing existing as far as I know. It is therefore urgent to get it well reproduced and at once. It would certainly make the first number of The Western Front "go" like anything to have the Tanks in it.'

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1969-10-534-1


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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