Anthony Sargeant bought this charming portrait of Laurence Binyon quite recently at auction. It is a drypoint of 1898 by William Strang printed by his son David Strang. Other examples are owned by the National Portrait Gallery, and National Galleries of Scotland.
Laurence Binyon was a distinguished English poet, dramatist and art scholar (1869-1943) He was Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum for many years but also held posts as Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University and Byron Professor of English Literature at Athens University among others.
He is probably best remembered today for the middle stanza of his poem, “For the Fallen” used in Remembrance Days services:
- They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
- Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
- They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
- They fell with their faces to the foe.
- They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
- Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
- We will remember them.
- They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
- They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
- They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
- They sleep beyond England’s foam