Born 1876. Died 1953. Studied Glasgow School of Art, initially as an architect. Exhibited from 1902 at Carfax Gallery, first portfolio of drypoints published 1904. Formally offered commission as first Official War Artist 15 July 1916. Drew on Somme front during August 1916, in Munitions Factories at Coventry at start of 1917, with grand fleet at Rosyth in March 1917 and on Hindenburg Front for 6 weeks from mid-April.
Bone’s energy was infamous and his output of finished drawings prodigious. Yet surprisingly little has been written on the artist’s work. Harries’ dedicate one chapter to Bone (5 pages), and Malvern examines the contextualisation of his image by Montague’s telling captions, an angle also taken by Robert Cumming in an illustrated article “Sir Muirhead Bone: 1876 – 1953” in Country Life (23 February 1978) Bone’s widow, Mary, provides an introduction for the catalogue of Bone’s exhibition of work from the IWM and NMM held in 1966.
A considerable number of the artist’s war work is contained in the two volumes of The Western Front, (George Newnes/Country Life 1917-1918) captions by Montague, including one on Trench Scenery (part III, March 1917) and another called War As It Is, (intro to Vol II). Falls describes this book as the work of a ‘brilliant draughtsman with two distinct styles: one meticulously careful and exact, the other boldly impressionist… his studies of workshops are perhaps the most notable… This book should not be absent from any collection of war literature.’ (Falls, p.13.)
IWM Dept. of Art file ‘Muirhead Bone’ contains much interesting correspondence between the artist and the secretary to the commissioning scheme, as well as Bone’s supportive statements for younger artists.
The Studio paid great attention to Bone’s appointment, publishing six of his Western Front drawings in Vol. LXIX, December 1916 next to a near-hagiographic appraisal of the work written by Frank Gibson. Interestingly as Bone’s status has been reassessed he has been compared with his contemporary Joseph Pennell, both specialising in ‘the urban, architectural and industrial sublime’ (Landscape in Britain, 1850-1950, catalogue, p.106). As an aside, John Masefield had little time for ‘that d__d Scotch etcher’ who kept him waiting on the old Somme battlefield near Pozieres in May 1917 (see Masefield’s letters, no.148). See the extended essay in
Born 1887. Died 1979. No formal art training, but he grew up in Le Havre in a milieu of artists, he was friendly with Braque, Dufy, de Segonzac and Derain. He gave up a career in commerce and travelled the world, working as a lumberjack in Canada and as a mariner.
At the outbreak of war, though declared unfit for active service, he travelled from Paris to Le Havre in August 1914 and ‘attached’ himself as interpreter to the Royal Scots Greys, becoming later a Liaison Officer with the British 5th Army Headquarter’s Staff under General Gough, and later under General Rawlinson. He earned a reputation for fearless reconnaissance and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the Military Medal with bar, the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur.
Maze earned a considerable reputation during the war and was revered by a great many soldiers, politicians and artists. William Rothenstein saw his drawings at 5th Army H.Q. in early 1918 and wrote, somewhat enviously, of Maze’s ‘rare courage and devotion.’ (Men and Memories, page 334). Winston Churchill, his painting companion but not, according to Maze, his painting student, wrote the introduction to his war memoir extolling Maze’s abilities to record ‘the battle scenes of Armageddon… by one who not only loved the fighting troops and shared their perils, but perceived the beauties of light and shade, of form and colour of which even the horrors of war cannot rob the progress of the sun.’ Photographs and stories of Maze crop up in a range of Great War studies – a photograph of him astride his trusty motorbike in Keith Simpson’s The Old Contemptibles (page 134); a lengthy passage from Maze’s daring exploration of the Somme battlefield around La Boiselle is quoted in A.H. Farrar-Hockley’s history of the Somme (The Somme, Batsford 1964/Pan 1971, pages 168-172).
Maze’s own account, A Frenchman in Khaki, (Heinemann, 1934) is very detailed and highly readable. Maze mentions his duties as an artist infrequently (pages 111-112, 114 cover a drawing expedition in the Betune-Laventie area in May 1915; page 123 a drawing made of Loos; page 128, the artist’s orders to proceed to the 2nd army in the north to draw the battle fronts of Messines and Wytschate in March 1916, and page 130 has details of his work as ‘bit by bit we dissected the ground with our field-glasses’. Chapter XVIII, page 134 to 142 covers Maze’s work on the Somme battlefield in July 1916, with drawings made from Gibralter Trench (p.134) and Bonte Redoubt (p.135). Chapter XIX ‘The Mametz Ridge’ refers to a drawing expedition which bought the comment from a front-line officer: ‘I’m afraid you won’t find the landscape very inspiring.’ (page 145). Further references to his drawing work are on pages 156; p.183 (while drawing near Mouquet Farm Maze carried his paper rolled and tied with a red band, as Maze struggled through the trenches an infantryman was heard to remark: ‘for God’s sake let him pass, it’s a bloke with the Peace Treaty’; Page 205 (when, during the appalling winter of 1916-17 Maze’s brush froze to the paper); page 228 (on the Salient); pages 266-7 (on his working partnership with General Gough); page 275 (in the prelude to the March Retreat of 1918); page 301 and pages 321-323 (during the final offensives, when, during sketching, Maze saw a German soldier de-lousing himself in the trenches opposite and being tolerated by the watching British troops. As Maze noted no one wanted to shoot the man ‘Evidently… being lousy was trouble enough for one man.’ (p.322).
IWM owns a few large and tattered panoramic drawings made at the front line. 6072 is inscribed ‘Could not go on through heavy shelling’. There are also several charcoal drawings of the ‘Leaning Madonna’ at Albert (6062), the Cloth Hall (6041) and the ruins of Albert Cathedral in 1918 (6063).
The only monograph on the artist is Anne Singer’s The Lost Impressionist (Aurum Press, 1983) which gives an adequate survey of his art. Maze showed regularly after the war, a large show of his work was held in June-July 1977 at Wildenstein’s, New Bond Street, London on the occasion of the artist’s ninetieth birthday. Lieutenant-General Anthony Farrar-Hockney wrote an introduction to the catalogue on ‘the Man’, Peter Norton wrote on ‘The Artist’. A review of this exhibition appeared in The Times (20 May 1977).