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The Dawn

JOHN, Augustus (1878 - 1961)

The Dawn - Augustus John

The Dawn - Augustus John

The Dawn

Date: 1917

Media: lithograph on paper

Acquired: 1919; Presented by Ministry of Information

Accession Number: NMW A 13158

Collection: The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals

Dawn breaks on the aftermath of war.  The expressive female figure is surrounded by ruins, misery and death.  A corpse is carried to the field full of graves and the figure of death looms behind her.  Yet, the new sunrise brings light and chases out the wretchedness.  The figure of the child brings hope for the future as he builds with stones from a ruin. 

John was born in Tenby, Wales and studied at the Slade School of Art, 1894-8 where even before his graduation he was recognized as the most talented draughtsman of his generation.  By the 1920s he was the leading portrait artist of his day. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1928. Alongside these achievements his lifestyle epitomised that of the bohemian artist, a reputation bolstered by his fascination with Romany culture.

This work forms part of the portfolio The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals, a series of 66 lithographic prints commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1917. The series provide a broad and fascinating representation of Britain’s war objectives, military activities and effort on the Home Front.


Paul A Asadoorian
4 February 2021, 15:23
I own this picture from Augustus John. How do I identify the one that I have? It is signed by him and dated but there is no number sequence as to it being a copy of a etching.
Thank you
Paul Asadoorian
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