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Reframing War: British Military Painting 1854 to 1918

Nott, D.A. (2015) Reframing War: British Military Painting 1854 to 1918. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In this thesis I argue for a re-assessment of the place within art historical research of a neglected cohort of late-Victorian battle artists who continued to paint military scenes into the second decade of the twentieth century. I chart the move towards a graphic representation of the rank and file in the art of Elizabeth Butler (1846-1933) which served to alert the public and the art world to the brutal effects of war on the individual soldier and how this move impacted on her fellow late-Victorian, and now little-known, battle artists such as Ernest Crofts (1847-1911), John Charlton (1849-1917), Richard Caton Woodville (1856-1927), William Barnes Wollen (1857-1936), and Godfrey Douglas Giles (1857-1941). I examine their visual representations of a growing awareness of the actual consequences of war on the ordinary soldier, and look at the effect on their art of an increasing imperialistic outlook at the end of the nineteenth century, and especially during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), within the context of an expanding media, technological developments, photography and changes in uniform. A particular focus is the effect on their art of the change from scarlet to khaki in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. A primary concern of this thesis is the exploration of the "modernity" of late nineteenth-century British battle painting and the relationship of selected works by these artists to that elusive and ill-defined term, modernism. It is within this context that I explore the reception of these artists and their works by contemporary audiences alongside their transition into the twentieth century. The reasons for their declining popularity and complete omission from the official war artist schemes of the First World War are examined together with their legacy into the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.665044
Depositing User: Ms D.A. Nott
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 09:13
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9525

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