Thursday, 21 January 2016

Images of the Great War - Lawrence Dunn

I've been dipping in and out of Images of the Great War by Lawrence Dunn.  Published by Austin Macauley, this is a lovely, wide-ranging book which covers not just those artists whose work will be familiar to many, but also lesser-known painters and illustrators some of whose work will be instantly recognisable, others less so.

Lawrence Dunn clearly knows his stuff and writes knowledgeably and enthusiastically. Here, in a single volume, we have well-known artists like Eric Kennington, Paul Nash, CR Nevinson, William Orpen and Stanley Spencer, and alongside them, the creators of iconic artwork who may be less well known: Anna Airy, Joyce Dennys, Flora Lion, and Norah Neilson-Gray. In fact women artists are well-represented. I have an original copy of Lucy Elizabeth Kemp-Welch's FORWARD on a wall at home, but what I didn't know was that the horse used in that poster was Lord Baden-Powell's charger, Black Prince, which he lent to the artist in 1906 and allowed her to keep when he left the army in 1910.

Henry Tonks and his studies of facially damaged servicemen is also here as are sculptors like Charles Sergeant Jagger and Sir Jacob Epstein. Bruce Bairnsfather and his "Old Bill" creation cover the cartoonists' response to the war and there is also a small section devoted to photography, although other photos also appear elsewhere in the book, giving context both to the paintings, and the shattered landscapes that would later be re-created on easels in artists' studios.

As I said, this book is wide-ranging, the reader being drawn not only into the lives of the talented generation which documented the conflict in charcoal, oils and pastels, but also to the poetry; images of the great war conjured up by the usual suspects like Graves, Owen, Rosenberg and Sassoon but also lesser known poets: VAD nurse Winfred Letts and Iris Tree who studied art at the Slade but who is remembered in this volume though an untitled poem written in 1917.

Such was the creative outpouring during the war and in response to it afterwards that the author and publisher set themselves an almost impossible task when having to make those hard decisions on who to include and who to exclude. Thus there is no place for William Kermode and his linocuts which illustrated Henry Willamson's The Patriot's Progress in 1930, and no place either for Bernard Partridge, an established cartoonist well before the war, whose caricatures and fine pen-work dominated Punch during the war years, and whose illustrations would later be used in the ubiquitous King's Discharge Certificates which were despatched to hundreds of thousands of wounded and disabled ex-servicemen.

Such exclusions are a shame but understandable. This is already a weighty, large-format volume; somewhere between quarto and octavo in size, and running to over three hundred pages. If I have a criticism it is that some of the illustrations could be a little larger and personally, I would have sacrificed some of the poetry - or maybe all of the poetry - in order to include more of the paintings, more of the cartoons, more of the posters.

It almost seems churlish to suggest this. Make no mistake, Images of the Great War is an ambitious, thoughtful and beautifully produced work which will have enduring power and interest and gives another voice not only to the artists who created the works that are so beautifully illustrated and knowledgeably explained throughout, but also to the men and women who stimulated this artistic response. Both Lawrence Dunn and Austin Macauley are to be congratulated.

Images of the Great War is available in hardcover (£59.99) and softcover (£49.99) from Amazon and elsewhere. Click on the Amazon link to see sample images.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

17th January 1916

Remembering the following officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the British Army who made the ultimate sacrifice on this day, one hundred years ago.

79694 Sapper J Adair 173rd Tunnelling Coy, Royal Engineers
9802 Private J Barclay 1st Bn, Gordon Highlanders
2192 Driver William John Beesley 2nd/2nd East Anglian Div, Royal Engineers
4867 Serjeant W E Besant 12th Bn, Hampshire Regiment
S/12048 Corporal J Birch 9th Bn, Rifle Brigade
PS/94 Private Arthur James Blackford 19th Bn, Royal Fusiliers
1566 Private A Bolan 2nd Bn, South Lancashire Regiment
22436 Serjeant Arthur William Booth DCM 6th Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
530 Corporal Wilfrid Bounds 1st/18th Bn, London Regiment (London Irish Rifles)
10478 Private James Brady 2nd Bn, Leinster Regiment
79108 Gunner John Charles Brooks "C" Bty, 72nd Bde, Royal Field Artillery
G/340 Private J Buckmaster 6th Bn, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
26647 Private H C Burgess 18th Bn, The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
O/2634 Private Harry Cadle Army Ordnance Corps
9477 Private W E Cleaver 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
18522 Private Peter Arthur Cook 2nd Bn, Norfolk Regiment
13661 Private C Copeland 8th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment
6/1886 Private J Cranney 1st/6th Bn, Durham Light Infantry
2943 Lance Corporal Henry Harold Crook 3rd/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars
4814 Private Albert Crossland 2nd Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment
3521 Private Walter Cullen 2nd/4th Bn, Somerset Light Infantry
Second Lieutenant Charles Hugh Davies 9th Bn, Welsh Regiment
2217 Driver Thomas Edward Davies Essex Brigade Coy, East Anglian Div, Train Army Service Corps
2948 Private Robert Davis Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry
16237 Private George Dawson 6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment
Lieutenant Donald Henry Devenish 14th Bn, Welsh Regiment
16652 Private Samuel Evans 18th Bn, The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
3116 Private E Fitzgerald 2nd Bn, Leinster Regiment
9790 Lance Corporal P Fitzgerald 6th Bn, Royal Munster Fusiliers
Second Lieutenant Douglas Tulloch Forbes 17th Bn, London Regiment
G/121 Private C Fox 1st Bn, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
1980 Rifleman Victor William French 6th Bn, London Regiment (City of London Rifles)
6971 Lance Serjeant R H Frost 7th Bn, Suffolk Regiment
1645 Sapper A Grant 3rd London Field Coy, Royal Engineers
15493 Private J Gray 10th Bn, Essex Regiment
12677 Private A R Hallam 8th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment
13645 Private S Hankey 10th Bn, Cheshire Regiment
9257 Private Robert Harcus 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
1753 Private F Harrell 3rd Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
2365 Private H C Hart 1st/5th Bn, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
3476 Private Samuel George Hawes 4th Bn, Suffolk Regiment
10688 Private Arthur Hawkwood 1st Bn, East Surrey Regiment
7783 Private H Hawting 5th Bn, Royal Berkshire Regiment
12655 Private A Haynes 8th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment
7605 Corporal Herbert Henry Hobson 2nd Bn, Rifle Brigade
Z/1065 Lance Serjeant Tom Hodgkinson 9th Bn, Rifle Brigade
Second Lieutenant Topham Becher Dabridgecourt Hough 8th Bn, East Yorkshire Regiment
16068 Private L V Hubbard 1st Bn, Royal Fusiliers
1085 Serjeant Wilfrid Hurst 1st Bn, Manchester Regiment
S/1950 Rifleman Albert Henry Jarman 9th Bn, Rifle Brigade
1074 Driver Frederick John Jenkins 2nd/1st Wessex Bde, Royal Field Artillery
13227 Corporal T John 9th Bn, Welsh Regiment
S/13322 Rifleman Benjamin James Johnson 9th Bn, Rifle Brigade
19359 Private Samuel Jones 4th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment
16221 Private Edward Richard Victor King 7th Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment
14686 Private J Lang 9th Bn, Welsh Regiment
20594 Corporal Hugh Leslie 2nd Bn, Wiltshire Regiment
9395 Private G Littlefield 2nd Bn, Dorsetshire Regiment
14041 Private Joseph Littley 9th Bn, attd, 8th Bn, East Yorkshire Regiment
15617 Private John Thomas Lord 6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment
2564 Rifleman J Luxford 2nd Bn, Rifle Brigade 997 Gunner G Maret 31st Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery
G/13256 Rifleman James Marsden "A" Coy, 9th Bn, Royal Irish Rifles
2618 Lance Corporal Alan Robert Mcclure 20th Bn, London Regiment
SS/4746 Private Charles Mcintosh 14th Labour Coy, Army Service Corps
21184 Private Harold Millington 10th Bn, York and Lancaster Regiment
4941 Private J Mooney 2nd Bn, Leinster Regiment
12936 Lance Corporal Charles Newlove 9th Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
3087 Private E O'Brien 6th Bn, Royal Irish Regiment
6862 Private W H Orton 1st Bn, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)
Second Lieutenant Edward Boynton Pedder 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars
G/70 Lance Corporal W Pocock 6th Bn, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
18599 Private John Povey 8th Bn, Royal Berkshire Regiment
S/8730 Private Alexander Rodgers 2nd Bn, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
12921 Private G Rowlands 9th Bn, Welsh Regiment
4720 Rifleman C J Rumble 6th Bn, London Regiment (City of London Rifles)
5640 Private W G Sargood 1st Bn, Royal Fusiliers
12459 Private Charles Saunders "C" Sqdn, 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales's)
2651 Private A Savage 1st/6th Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
6440 Private W Scarlett 1st (Royal) Dragoons
9603 Private G A Sennett 5th Bn, Connaught Rangers
9425 Lance Serjeant James Sharp 1st Bn, Seaforth Highlanders
6390 Private Charles Smith 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
22497 Private Harold Smith 12th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers
17326 Private Richard Smith 7th Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment
17369 Private S Telford 11th Bn, Border Regiment
14190 Company Quartermaster Serjeant J Try 8th Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment
R/6535 Lance Corporal F Turner 7th Bn, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Second Lieutenant Leslie Kinloch Tweedie "C" Bty, 72nd Bde, Royal Field Artillery
50406 Bombardier G Unger "B" Bty, 98th Bde, Royal Field Artillery
2690 Private J E V Wells 20th Bn, London Regiment
Second Lieutenant Donald Gurney Whatmoor 7th Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment
9243 Corporal Charles White 12th Bn, Highland Light Infantry
82710 Sapper H Williams 174th Field Coy, Royal Engineers
16104 Rifleman A Wilson 9th Bn, Royal Irish Rifles
7705 Private William Frank Young 2nd Bn, Dorsetshire Regiment

The potted biography of Lieutenant Devenish is taken from volume 4 of De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

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