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Boswell, James

Entry updated 31 March 2021. Tagged: Artist.

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(1906-1971) New Zealand-born painter and illustrator, in the UK from 1925, who sometimes signed his work Bos or Buchan; he was a member of the London Group of painters intermittently from 1927, where his passionate socialism had an ongoing impact on his contemporaries. His work shows the influence of German graphic artists like Georg Grosz and the British James Fitton (1899-1982); in turn, he influenced younger artists like Ronald Searle and Paul Hogarth. A suite of eight vividly premonitory lithographs – "The Fall of London", now held by the British Museum – was almost certainly intended to illustrate a Future War novel, Invasion from the Air (1934) by Roy Connolly and Frank McIlraith (see London; Ruins and Futurity). Little is known of the latter writer, but in the 1930s the Australian Connolly clearly shared some of Boswell's anti-Fascist convictions. During this period Boswell also did the cover art for Katharine Burdekin's Proud Man (1934) and F Le Gros Clark's Between Two Men: A Novel (1935). His World War Two etchings are surreal and apocalyptic. [JC]

James Edward Buchanan Boswell

born Westport, New Zealand: 9 June 1906

died London: 15 April 1971

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works as illustrator (selected)

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