Margaret Ley, a talented miniaturist, and William Sewell, a talented artist and book illustrator, first met when students at Herkomer’s Art School. In this poignant portrait of 1927, John Moody expresses the grief felt by Margaret on the tenth anniversary of her husband William’s death – he died in 1917, aged 41, at the battle of Arras. Still in mourning, she holds in her hand a species of the Cardamine plant, known for its healing properties for heart ailments.
Born in 1906 Moody had been too young to participate in the war, but suffered its consequences. His poignant woodcut, War, produced in 1928, sums up his sense of the futility of war and and antagonism towards the ‘old order’ which had condemned so many to a needless death.
As such he was expressing the mood of his generation.
We are grateful to Richard Thompson for assistance.