Posted 4 years ago
I liked this old newspaper illustration so much that I bought it for only a couple dollars and then spent a tidy sum having it matted and framed – under museum glass no less to preserve the newspaper print. My ex thought I was nuts. I guess she still does. The diagonal corners on the inner mat are not just decorative. They hide the fact that the news sheet was dog-eared and torn at the corners.
It’s called “Under Fire” by Lawson Wood. Wood was known for his whimsical artwork, reminiscent of Norman Rockwell, but Wood predates Rockwell by about 20 years. Here we have a couple urchins teasing a not so amused highlander, with unusually skinny legs, not to mention spats that make his feet look like a ducks. Wood either did his homework or had an actual soldier model, because the uniform and equipment are accurate. The poor harassed soldier is a member of the Gordon Highlanders, wearing 1888 Slade-Wallace equipment ammo pouches and braces. I believe his weapon is the Magazine Lee Enfield – the Long Lee Enfield, so his bayonet would be the pattern 1888.
The illustration was published in the Illustrated London News around Christmas of 1910. This was the first illustrated weekly newspaper in the world when it came out in 1842, although it became a monthly in 1971 and went out of business in 2003.
Lawson Wood later served as an officer in the Royal Flying Corps, spotting aircraft from a hot air balloon. He was decorated by the French for gallantry for his actions over Vimy Ridge. He passed away in 1957.