Hall of Remembrance

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The Hall of Remembrance was a series of paintings and sculptures commissioned, in 1918, by the British War Memorials Committee of the British Ministry of Information in commemoration of the dead of World War One.


Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916 by Stanley Spencer

The artworks commissioned for the Hall of Remembrance were to be devoted to 'fighting subjects, home subjects and the war at sea and in the air' and were to be displayed in a specially built structure. The building was to be designed to accommodate a series of paintings based upon the dimensions of the large trptych, The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello, one part of which is now in the National Gallery.[1] The scheme was initiated by Lord Beaverbrook, the then Minister of Information and echoed the scale of a war art programme he had launched for the government of Canada. Although the architect Charles Holden completed a design for the building, the plan was abandoned and those artworks that had been completed, along with works donated by Muirhead Bone, William Orpen and Sir John Lavery were incorporated into the art collection that was part of the establishment of the Imperial War Museum.[2][3]

Although Holden's plans for the building have been lost, Muirhead Bone described the structure as a "kind of Pavilion", surrounded by a garden, with a main gallery leading to an oratory with a dedication to the "coming Brotherhood of Man for which we all pray."[4] The centre piece of the Hall were to be four 'super-pictures', each 20 feet long by 7 feet high and each on the theme of cooperation between Britain and its various allies.[5] William Orpen was offered the commission for the Britain and its Italian allies picture but refused, as he did not want to leave the Western Front for a trip to Italy. Augustus John accepted the commission to produce the Anglo-French super-picture but the painting, Junction of Our Lines with the French never materialised. John Singer Sargent was tasked with depicting Anglo-American cooperation but failed to find an appropriate scene whilst visiting the Somme and instead presented the picture known as Gassed. The fourth super-picture, of troops from the Empire, was never commissioned.[5]


Irish Troops in the Judaean Hills Surprised by a Turkish Bombardment by Henry Lamb

The paintings commissioned and completed for the Hall of Remembrance include:


  1. ^ "'Gassed', by John Singer Sargent". The Guardian. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. ^ Art from the First World War. Imperial War Museum. 2008. ISBN 978-1-904897-98-9.
  3. ^ Ulrike Smalley. "How The British Government Sponsored The Arts In The First World War". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  4. ^ Richard Cork (1994). A Bitter Truth - Avant Garde Art and the Great War. Yale University Press & The Barbican Art Gallery.
  5. ^ a b c Merion Harries & Susie Harries (1983). The War Artists, British Official War Art of the Twentieth Century. Michael Joseph, The Imperial War Museum & Tate Gallery. ISBN 0 7181 2314 X.
  6. ^ a b c John Ferguson (1980). The Arts In Britain In World War 1. Stainer & Bell. ISBN 0 85249 548 X.
  7. ^ Imperial War Museum. "Landing Survivors from a Torpedoed Ship". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  8. ^ Imperial War Museum. "The Royal Field Artillery in Macedonia, Spring 1918". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  9. ^ Imperial War Museum. "Heavy Artillery". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  10. ^ Imperial War Museum. "The Old German Front Line, Arras, 1916". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  11. ^ Imperial War Museum. "First World War Art Archive, Cameron, D.Y." Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  12. ^ Imperial War Museum. "A Two Year-old Steel Works, 1918: erected during the War for Messer. Steel, Peech and Tozer Ltd., Phoenix Works, Rotherham". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 28 September 2016.