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The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals

The most ambitious print project of the First World War

This exhibition presents the complete print series, The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals. These sixty-six prints were produced by the British government in 1917 as artistic propaganda with the aim of encouraging a war-weary public and raising support for the war effort.

Eighteen artists contributed to the series, including Augustus John, George Clausen and Frank Brangwyn – some of the most celebrated artists of the time.

As a government commission, the artists did not have full artistic freedom. They were given their subjects and each image had to pass censorship regulations.

The prints are divided into two sets of portfolios, ‘Ideals’ and ‘Efforts’. The ‘Ideals’ address the question of why Britain was at war and what it aimed to achieve. These images are dramatic and symbolic, such as The Freedom of the Seas and The Triumph of Democracy. The ‘Efforts’ illustrate some of the activities of the war effort, the means by which Britain was to achieve the ‘Ideals’. The Efforts are separated into nine subject headings, each depicting a different activity or theme.

The complete print series is displayed below, and can also be viewed on our Art Online collections catalogue


Article Date: 2 August 2014


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