Judy Brook, Christopher and Helen Wright (eds), 'Arthur Wragg: Twentieth-century Artist, Prophet and Jester'

IssueSeptember - November 2002
Review by Simon Dixon

The name Arthur Wragg will no doubt be familiar to some of PN's more senior readers. He joined the Peace Pledge Union in 1935, and contributed regularly to Peace News in the late 1930s. Later, he would design posters for the PPU, and his pacifism and social radicalism would inform much of his work during a career which spanned over five decades.

It is difficult now to fully appreciate the impact that Wragg's drawings would have had on contemporary audiences. Yet leafing through the pages of this excellent volume I was struck by just how powerful his stark black and white drawings remain. His subjects included social injustices, the threat and impact of war, and anything else which Wragg saw as causing unnecessary suffering.

This volume is a personal memoir rather than a critical biography. Judy Brook was a friend of Wragg who died before she could complete the book; it was completed by her friends Christopher and Helen Wright. It is only natural, then, that in places it has a slightly disjointed feel. However, on the whole the Wrights have done an excellent job in bringing it all together. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable read, coupled with over one hundred of Wragg's political and commercial works, making the package well worth investing in.

Topics: Culture
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