Until Julian Francis wrote 'Tom Chadwick and the Grosvenor School of Modern Art' (just published by the Fleece Press), no-one had written anything, so far as I know, about the actual way the school worked, so Julian's book is a welcome and sane addition to what we know. It resists hype - and we have had hype almost beyond endurance - and talks calm sense instead. Me, I sit down and write these posts, then re-read them some months later and am aghast at my own chutzpah.
That aside, Flight deserves some calm appraisal. His life was just as underprinted as the prints he went on to make. It builds unwittingly from early failure to get into the Navy to receiving the Credit Agricole from the French government for his service during the first war. He was no more an ordinary soldier than he was an ordinary printmaker. He may well be irritating and posturing at times, but he is rarely dull. That he moved through the various fads and fashions of the twenties and thirties, is obvious; that contemporary writers still go on about the Vorticists and the thrill of modern life, is less so - by far. It was Flight himself who disagreed with them when he said, 'I am of no school'. I can understand that a newspaper journalist at the time needed a phrase like 'The Trogolodyte Artist' to get the attention of readers, but all the talk of Vorticism is not much better.
Flight picked up things as he went along, there's no doubt of that but his work to unfold the underlying structures has something in common with his father's work on meteorites. The role that Edith Lawrence played when he eventually met her in 1922, doesn't seem to have been worked out in any detail, though. There is alot less known about her, and what she was doing at the time, but of all the partnerships that existed then, theirs may well prove to be one of the most compelling.
It was certainly enduring. Fatefully, they left London during the Blitz for Wiltshire. Their studio off Marylebone Road was then bombed in 1941, and all Flight's lino-blocks were destroyed. They stayed on at Donhead St Andrews where Flight survived a devastating stroke in 1947. Lawrence, who was nine years his junior, looked after him for another eight years, untill he died forgotten in 1955. Not so very vorticist after all.