Splendour and Sorrow: Dundee's Newspaper Artists during the First World War

Matthew Jarron, Emma Halford-Forbes

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    At the time that the First World War broke out, Dundee boasted one of the largest newspaper businesses of any city outside London. The combined empires of DC Thomson and John Leng sold more newspapers than anywhere else in Scotland, and they employed dozens of artists to illustrate their publications. This paper will begin by exploring the ways that these artists began to respond to the war in print, for example in the cartoons of William McMann that featured in the Evening Telegraph and the People’s Journal. It will then look at the fortunes of some of the many artists who signed up for the front, several of whom never returned. Some artists became celebrated for their depictions of the front line, including Joseph Lee, who was best known as a poet but who also illustrated his books with sketches of life in the trenches and then in a POW camp. The paper will have a particular focus on Joseph Gray, who wrote about and sketched his experiences with the 4th Black Watch (‘Dundee’s Own’) and after the war became renowned for his large-scale portraits of battalions in action.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-28
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of the Scottish Society for Art History
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


    • art history
    • military
    • war
    • Great War
    • World War I
    • newspapers

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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