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Percy Smith

1882 - 1948

Death Forbids by Percy Smith

Death Forbids   1919

  Original etching.
Signed and titled in pencil.
S 252 x 311 mm; P & I 200 x 248 mm
Particularly fine signed proof impression with pronounced etched line; from the only edition of 100 signed proofs, as issued in the series of seven etchings entitled The Dance of Death.

The Dance of Death is considered to be Percy Smith’s greatest series of etchings. One of the most important and solemn statements on the First World War in art, it shows seven visions of Death in various roles, amongst living, dying and dead soldiers.

This image was described by the leading expert on printmaking, Campbell Dodgson: “Pinned down under a fallen tree, in the midst of a tangle of barbed wire, a soldier, still alive but powerless to move, sees in the distance a party of stretcher bearers carrying off a more fortunate comrade from the battlefield. He calls and gesticulates in vain; Death touches his agitated hand with a firm gesture of restraint.” (The Print-Collector’s Quarterly, October, 1921).

The prominent etcher E.S. Lumsden commented on this series of etchings in his leading work The Art of Etching (London, 1925) “…in time these plates will, I feel sure, be looked upon as the most searching commentary…produced in this country: perhaps in any.”

On heavy wove paper with full margins, uneven at extreme right edge. Excellent condition.