Remembrance

Artwork Created For Never-Before-Illustrated WWI Poem

'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen was originally published in 1920 after his death.

Words describing the horrors faced by soldiers during the First World War by one of the leading poets of the era are being illustrated for the first time. 

'Dulce et Decorum Est' was penned by Wilfred Owen in 1917 and is a detailed account of a mustard gas attack.

In November 1918, Owen was killed in action, aged 25, one week before the Armistice.

The poem was published posthumously in 1920.

The work is being re-released in a new book to mark both Owen's death and Armistice Day.

The book will include images by illustrator Martin Impey alongside the words.

Mr Impey has previously published children’s books about the First World War and he hopes the new illustrations will help to understand Owen's work:

“The sentiment of this poem is that these young boys were encouraged to go on a lie."

Martin Impey illustration for new release of Wilfred Owen poem.
Martin Impey hopes his illustrations will help students of Wilfred Owen's famous poem.

The title 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is taken from the Latin phrase "it is sweet and honourable", followed by “pro patria mori”, which translates as "to die for one's country".  

Owen was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment and was sent to serve in France with the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1916, where he began to document the conflict.

The poem has been regarded as a response to those who praised the so-called ‘glory of war’. 

Martin Impey creates new images for Wilfred Owen poem
Illustrator Martin Impey collects First World War momentos to help him with his sketches.

Mr Impey says he has always been fascinated by the First World War and has collected items related to the conflict to help him with the illustrations.

Among them is a jar containing soil from one of the battlefields. He mixed it with some water and splashed some of the mud onto his sketches:

"For me, it symbolises the soil reclaiming the men that have been brought to life by the book."