Bridgeman Images used in book illustrating Wilfred Owen's famous war poem

Client: Martin Impey (illustrator)
Book title: Dulce et Decorum Est
Sector:  Book publishing
Content Used: The original hand-written poem Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, from the British Library
First Published: 25th October 2018 
Publisher: Strauss House Productions


Award-winning illustrator, Martin Impey, has published a book illustrating Wilfred Owen's most renowned poems. Impey skilfully executes not only the imagery that Owen creates in words, but also the sentiment, ie that there is no glory in war, or in death.

Front cover of Dulce et Decorum Est, illustrated by Martin Impey


Wilfred Owen's poem was referred to by him as his "gas poem". It describes the gruesome effects of gas, conveying the true horrors of war. The title Dulce et Decorum Est is taken from a poem by the Ancient Roman poet Horace, which translates as "it is sweet and fitting ..." which in the original poem is followed by "pro patria mori", which means "to die for one's country".

Bridgeman Images provided photography of Wilfred Owen's handwritten poem from the British Library, which he penned in 1917 during his stay at the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh (it was published posthumously in 1920). 


Pages in Dulce et Docorum Est, showing Wilfred Owen's handwritten manuscripts


According to the British Library, these works also show the hand of Wilfred Owen's fellow war poet and patient at the Craiglockhart Hospital, Siegfried Sassoon, who would pencil in suggestions. 


Left side manuscripts: MS 43720 (f21r&22) 'Dulce et Decorum Est', from The Poems of Wilfred Owen, 1917 (pencil on paper) , Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918) / British Library, London, UK. Right  side manuscripts: Add MS 43721 'Dulce et Decorum est.', Poems, 1911-18 (ink on paper), Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918) / British Library, London


Martin Impey's visceral illustrations brilliantly illustrate the horrors that Wilfred Owen conveyed in his poem, and are beautifully reproduced in the book.


Illustration from Dulce et Decorum Est, illustration by Martin Impey © Martin Impey


Bridgeman Images represents the British Library exclusively in the UK. Please contact us to find out more about licensing images from the British Library.


Find out more

See more WWI poetry material in the Bridgeman Images archive

Explore material from the British Library

Read more about these Wilfred Owen Manuscripts on the British Library website

Watch Martin Impey creating one of his watercolour illustrations for the book

Buy Martin Impey's book 



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