James Boswell – The Fall of London: Museum 1933 Lithograph on paper
In his lithograph series, The Fall of London, Bosworth gives us a city under siege but who from?
The Tate, where the lithographs can be seen, suggests that the images portray a London invaded by fascists. There are scenes of body strewn streets. Here, in Museum, a pile of dead people sits at the top of the steps, in others men hang from lamp posts.
This ‘fascist invasion’ interpretation is probably more palatable than the vision Bosworth was channelling, one not of invasion from without but from within. The people of London broken by unemployment, class division and poverty, rising up against itself as groups get behind a homespun fascist movement.
The lithographs are a particular vision of what London’s streets could have become and in fact could still become given particular circumstances.
They are powerful images undermined somewhat by the Tate’s view that they portray an outside invasion rather than contemplate that Londoners could in certain circumstances turn to fascism.
For those that wonder what a possible fascist or genocide perpetrator might look like take a look in the mirror and keep that face in mind.
The power for good and evil is in all of us, choose wisely.
May 18 2014