Muirhead Bone Biography

Muirhead Bone




Sir Muirhead Bone was born in Glasgow, Scotland on March 23, 1876. He had first trained as an architect before turning to art, with an emphasis on watercolor and printmaking, which he began in 1898, and although his first known print was a lithograph, he is better known for his etchings and drypoints. His subject matter was principally related to landscapes and architecture, which included urban construction and demolition sites, Gothic cathedrals and Norman buildings. Bone trained at the Glasgow School of Art before moving to London in 1901. There he continued to study alongside artists such as William Strang, Dugald MacColl, and Alphonse Legros, evenutally joining the New English Art Club.

With the onset of World War I, Bone was kept from armed battle and was named an 'Official British War Artist' and was given an honorary second lieutenant title by the British War Propoganda Bureau, and ordered to  illustrate what he witnessed while deployed. Bone was, in fact, the first war artist enlisted by the British government. He produced 150 drawings while serving on the Western Front and with the Royal Navy.

Following the Armistice, Bone traveled and exhibited extensively, including in London and New York. In 1901 Bone moved to London, and by 1903, had finally achieved enough financial success as an artist that he could afford to marry Gertrude Dodd, sister of artist and close friend Francis Dodd, after a five-year engagement. An extended visit to Spain in 1929 resulted in the folio Old Spain, a collaboration with his wife who wrote the text, which was published in 1936. He was knighted in 1937. He continued on as a war artist in the second World War. 

Bone later served as a Trustee and on the committees of several institutions including the Tate, the National Gallery and the Imperial War Museum. Sir Muirhead Bone died in Oxford, England on October 21, 1953.