Andrew Lambirth

The great and the good and the gassed and the dead

The National Portrait Gallery brings together a vivid collection of Great War portraits

Eric Kennington's Gassed and Wounded [Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

Last week, three exhibitions celebrating the art of Germany; this week, a show commemorating the first world war fought against that great nation. In this centenary year of the beginning of WW1, there will be numerous events marking the start of hostilities. (Will there be as many celebrating the anniversary of their cessation, I wonder?) Although there is some film footage of the war, and detailed photographic documentation of its horrors, the best record we have of the human reality of those five years of conflict resides in the art made about it.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in