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1903 – 1980

Waiting Miner at the Meeting of Tunnels
Gouache, wax crayon and ink
47.5 x 93.2 cm
Presented by HM Government and the War Artists Advisory Committee, 1947 © Estate of Graham Sutherland. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


Sutherland’s work was greatly admired by the chairman of the War Artists Advisory Committee, Sir Kenneth Clark. Although the war brought new contemporary subject matter to artists’ attention, Clark also believed in giving artists commissions appropriate to their individual interests.

Sutherland’s pre-war fascination with landscape saw him dispatched to Cornwall in 1942 to record wartime activity in the tin mines. In a letter to Clark he wrote: ‘The mines are stupendous & thrilling to a degree which I wouldn’t have believed possible… I hope I can be equal to the occasion. The records I make shall either be easily the best I’ve done or a failure.’