Making The Engine 'Britain's Efforts and Ideals'; Making Aircraft

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 691 a
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: lithograph
  • Support: Height 513 mm, Width 388 mm
  • Frame: Depth 30 mm, Height 728 mm, Width 555 mm
  • Mount: Height 683 mm, Width 507 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: print

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 691 a)

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Object description

image: a factory interior with belt driven machinery. The composition is dominated by belts running from overhead drive wheels. A worker with overalls and flat cap is operating a lathe while another watches.


In 1917 the Ministry of Information commissioned nine artists to produce six lithographs each on different aspects of the war effort. This is an example of one of the 'Efforts'. A further twelve artists were commissioned to produce a single image representing the 'Ideals' for which the war was fought. All the lithographs were produced in editions of 200 and the subscription price for a complete set was 100 guineas. The prospectus published on January 1, 1919 described the series as 'a first attempt by a number of British artists, working in unison, to put on record some aspects of the activities called forth by the Great War, and Ideals by which those activities were inspired'. The prints were published by the Fine Art Society and produced under the direction of Ernest Jackson, himself a contributor to the 'Ideals' series.


Here the workers are embedded within a complex system of belts. The strong diagonals of the machinery dominate and give the work its force and movement. During the First World War 18 artists were commissioned by Britain’s propaganda bureau to contribute to the series The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals. This is one of six images Nevinson produced on Making Aircraft which show the whole production process from manufacturing components through to assembly to finished aircraft in flight.

History note

Department of Information commission


C.R.W. Nevinson 1917



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