On the Stocks


Muirhead Bone (1876-1953), On the Stocks, lithograph, 1917, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the stone], in very good condition (remains of hinging verso), printed on a handmade cream wove paper, 13 7/8 x 18, the sheet 15 1/4 x 21.

Provenance: Kennedy Galleries, New York, with their mat and annotations.

A very good impression.

Bone started his printmaking career in lithography, eventually achieving renown as a leader of the British Etching movement through his work in etching and drypoint.  On the Stocks suggests that lithography, rather than drypoint,  would seem to be just the right medium to capture the rough grit and smoke of shipbuilding, and the mammoth size of the effort – but Bone created most such compositions in drypoint.

In On the Stocks a large merchant ship is being built under a shed to shelter a hive of workmen beneath the weather.  The many little railways seen in the foreground bring the material from the shops to the stocks.  This is one of a group of lithographs of the Western Front (a reproduction of which is included in a book called the Western Front, Doubleday, New York, 1917,  with drawings by Bone, documenting the World War I effort); it was also included (as number 2)  in a set of 6 lithographs entitled Building Ships.