a) On January 10th 2018, I started to wonder if this painting was one of the things that inspired the look of HP Lovecraft's sunken city R'lyeh that comes to the surface in "Call Of The Cthulhu". It's an important piece in its time having crept into the paintings of a number of other artists in various ways and now is largely forgotten.
It just had to be something strange and interesting enough rather for Lovecraft to be happy to mentally play with rather than it be be an actual science fiction horror cityscape.
|Wyndham Lewis' "A Battery Shelled" (1919)|
b) A point of view about R'Lyeh appears to be that it was inspired by Nan Madol, a supposedly cursed island within the boundaries of Micronesia, and then a part of that place appears to loosely resemble "A Battery Shelled".
I read about the Nan Madol connection to Lovecraft in Simon Sellars' Applied Ballardianism around November the 4th 2018 and then found out on the internet that this was an established theory.
|Hillside of Nan Madol|
c) Wikipedia mentions that "the ruins of Nan Madol were used as the setting for a lost race story by A. Merritt, The Moon Pool (1918), in which the islands are called Nan-Tauach and the ruins are called the Nan-Matal," (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nan_Madol). The story first appeared in All-Story Weekly in two parts, 1918 & 1919, so would have been established as something talked about in Western Society by the time of Wyndam Lewis' painting.
- The Moon Pool by A. Merritt; Conrey DJ art Lightly softened spine ends. A handsome copy. A few, moderate chips along the top edge, particularly to the back cover. Rubbed extremities w/ areas of clolor loss. Price-clipped. In protective mylar. 1" piece of tape to front flap. Reprint. (1st HC issued by Putnam, 1919). First appeared in All-Story Weekly in two parts, 1918 & 1919. Merritt's first book, a lost race story. Black pebbled cloth, gilt lettering to front cover and spine, uncut fore edge. Includes scarce Conrey DJ. Bookseller Inventory # HCX4821-1(https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22839691588&cm_mmc=ggl-_-UK_Shopp_Rare-_-naa-_-naa&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-52I8amJ4gIVRbDtCh2rUQq9EAYYASABEgLNTPD_BwE)
d) See: http://tripfreakz.com/offthebeatenpath/the-grim-fortress-of-nan-madol for more about the legend of the place