I must admit that until I came across this book in my local bookshop I had no idea that E. H. Shepard, best know to us all as the man who illustrated A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, had served in WWI, never mind that he’d drawn his way through the trenches (although that should have been obvious, given that he’s an artist).
On Amazon the book is summarised thus:
Shepard’s War is an intimate, illustrated narrative of the First World War seen through the mainly unpublished work of E. H. Shepard, who served as a frontline officer from 1915 to the end of the war. With over a hundred pieces of original artwork, rendered in full-colour, ranging from caricatures of Shepard’s fellow officers to sketches made during battle, technical drawings and commentary from Shepard’s own wartime notebooks and diaries, this is a unique insight into the life of an incredibly talented yet humble man and a rare visual journey into the Great War.
In all honesty I couldn’t have put it better myself and I thoroughly recommend getting hold of a copy from your local library and immersing yourself in it for a couple of hours. The drawings are beautiful, emotive and offer a wonderful window on Shepard’s experience of war. The narrative, by James Campbell, is well written, informative and illuminates the art in the best of ways.