Arthur Wragg (1903 - 1976 )
a portait by Robert Johnson of Arthur Wragg on the dustwrapper of The
Psalms for Modern Life.
Arthur Wragg was a commercial illustrator who also produced books on Christian
Socialist themes mainly between the two World wars. It is easy to assemble
a collection of his illustrated works because they remain unsold in secondhand
shops. They seem to fit into no English or Continental tradition, and
their attacks on politicians and warmongers make them uncomfortable reading.
His illustrations are like no other but characteristically, he is held
in low repute if at all. His attacks on the abuses of power, on grinding
poverty and hopelessness are realised with considerable power. Although
he did not develop anything like a style of drawing that could be related
to Cubism or Futurism, he had his own way of drawing suffering and perseverence.
the dustjacket of Jesus Wept, London c1935 17 x 26cms.
Jesus Wept, London c1935 "TOMORROW AND TOMORROW". the utter
pointlessness of a life without any sort of hope.
Jesus Wept, London c1935 "CUL-DE-SAC" unemployment
can force even the most honest of people into housebreaking just to
Thy Kingdom Come, London 1939 ; Splendid Isolation 24 x 35cms.
Thy Kingdom Come, London 1939 ; "Come Effie Show Auntie Your
Nice New Gas-Drill".
more typical of Wragg's illustrative style for the magazines, here The
Judgment of the Corpse that Winked, Everyman's January 1953 ; "Solemn-faced
officials led the four unwilling relatives to the coffin and curtly ordered
them to lay hands on the corpse."
The Psalms for Modern Life, London undated 19 x 27cms. c1936
The Psalms for Modern Life, London undated c1936 12
x 18cms "But
the earth he hath given to the children of men."