(London: 1942-1946). Three oblong quarto volumes; 25; 27; 21ff. Two are Whatman series A30 sketch books, originally containing 30 leaves, and have been titled "Girls in Undress" and "Figures" by Buckland Wright; the third is a Reeves branded book which also formerly contained 30 leaves. All are bound in the original canvas boards, and each bears a single ink initial on both ends of the spine, likely an identification method used by the artist. The bulk of the images are detailed pencil sketches, occasionally accented with an ink wash; most pages contain a series of smaller sketches focusing on a theme or action, and many bear dates in the upper left margin. These studies were done during the period when Buckland Wright lived in London, serving as a press censor at the Ministry of Information - a post that coincided with the artist's desire, which he stated in a letter to Christopher Sandford, to "be near humanity in the mass, with the possibility of seeing a hundred girls every time I go out, and watching their shapes and attitudes." Describing his father's process during the war years, Buckland Wright's son, Christopher could very well be describing the contents of this suite of sketchbooks when he writes that his father's notebooks from this period "show that he drew constantly the figures of girls: the secretaries and teleprinter operators in his office ... Here the constant need to draw the female figure ensured that he retained the ability in his engravings to depict their sensual curves with conviction and sensitivity" (Sensuous Lines, 19). A quick perusal of the sketches in these volumes clearly demonstrates how much they informed the post-war publications Buckland Wright illustrated for Golden Cockerel - a period which saw some of the artist's best work. A spread within "Girls in Undress" dated December 27, 1943, contains two pencil and ink washes and four smaller pencil sketches that bear strong thematic similarities to the illustrations found in The Grecian Enchanted (1952); indeed, the action of undressing underlies much of Buckland Wright's post-war output. Also intriguing are the artist's occasional notations, which offer context ("Girl being thrown backwards and caught in small of back"), sense of place (one group of sketches indicates that it was done at Bramham Gardens on April 16, 1943), or a theme (one sequence is entitled "Harvesting"). Together, these books provide a wealth of insight into the maturing vision of "one of the greatest artists of the nude that ever lived" (Ibid). Item #32191
(Buckland Wright, Christopher. Sensuous Lines. A Catalogue Raisonné of the intaglio prints of John Buckland Wright. Upper Denby, Fleece Press, 2014).