Grand Eagle (capitals and columns)
Henningham Family Press
28 1/4 x 42in
£540 (£690 framed)
Acquired by Saison Poetry Library (Royal Festival Hall)
Republished in ‘The New Concrete’, ed. Chris McCabe & Victoria Bean, Hayward Publishing.
Grand Eagle (capitals and columns) commemorates the centenary of the First World War by recapitulating quotations from our An Unknown Soldier project on a civic scale. The main text is our soldier’s own paradoxical definition of humanity “Able damned est/ N thing worth saving/ N harvest thrives/ On our mass graving.” Beneath we have chosen an epitaph from Preparatory Oratory “MCMXIV fire guns at a useless trajectory MMXIV”, screenprinted in gold beneath. The enlarged capitals, as found in medieval manuscripts, spell out ANNO to remind us of the centenary year, but also suggest capital cities found on a map of the world, surrounded by fortifications in the shape of each sentence, or perhaps columns of soldiers marching towards the vanishing point of a no-man’s land.
Our An Unknown Soldier project ruminates on the meaning of a memorial to an unknown soldier in the age of DNA testing. Does he now embody our desire to ignore the past, rather than remember? Throughout the project we use three bespoke Trench fonts to evoke the anatomy of trench warfare and, using old-fashioned paper sizes, we have alluded to call-up posters, papers, and martial instruction manuals.