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The Radial Crane

CLAUSEN, George (1852 - 1944)

The Radial Crane - George Clausen

The Radial Crane - George Clausen

The Radial Crane

Date: 1917

Media: lithograph on paper

Acquired: 1919; Presented by Ministry of Information

Accession Number: NWM A 13180

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

This image is dominated by the massive radial crane, a specialist crane used in a gun barrel plant.  Clausen has thought carefully about the construction of this image - the gun barrel in the centre of the work creates a horizontal line to balance the vertical line of the crane.  Clausen specialised in landscape painting, and here perhaps treats the workshop scene as if it were a landscape, uniting man and machinery.

Clausen researched this set of prints at the Royal Gun Factory, Woolwich Arsenal, London which manufactured armaments, ammunition and explosives for the British Armed Forces.  At its peak during the First World War it employed around 80,000 people and extended over 1,30 acres.  Clausen was appointed an official war artist in 1917. As an older artist he did not go to the Front line, instead recording activities on the home front. 

Clausen was born in London to George Clausen Senior, a decorative painter of Danish descent. He attended the Royal College of Art and South Kensington art schools, then the Académie Julian in Paris.  He was a founding member of the New English Art Club and was elected Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy in 1904.  He was knighted in 1927.

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.
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