First published in 1943, this collection of poems was originally conceived as two separate works under the titles The Open Tomb (1937-39) and The Conquest of Defeat (1939-42). The final publication was organised in five main groups with Sutherland's designs dividing the sections. A copy of Poems 1937-1942 will be on view with the study sheets.
Another study sheet for Miserere I was exhibited in London, Tate Gallery, Graham Sutherland, May-July 1982, no.87 (illustrated). Ronald Alley in the exhibition catalogue comments on the designs '... all of which are exceptionally metaphysical and Blake-like, in keeping with the visionary intensity of Gascoyne's poetry. Each one inside the book serves as introduction to a particular group of poems, but they are creations in parallel rather than illustrations in the strict sense'.
Sutherland and Trevelyan would probably have first met when they both participated in an exhibition of eleven contemporary British artists held at Thos. Agnew & Sons, London in January 1937. The other artists represented included Francis Bacon, Ivon Hitchens and Victor Pasmore. (see Roger Berthoud, Graham Sutherland, London, 1982, p.86).
see also note to lot 11 and lot 146 (study of David Gascoyne by Lucian Freud).