Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2017

Department 1

Civil War Era Studies


This paper examines the artists sent to the Western Front under Britain’s official war artists initiative. The government sought to utilize artwork for propagandistic purposes, and to foster emotional connection between civilian and soldier. However, the growth of the initiative to include some ninety artists complicated this. The experiences of the artists and the truths revealed to them by the conflict were vastly different, and examination of them as a whole does little to elucidate the character of the war itself. What this paper seeks to do, therefore, is examine three artists - Sir William Orpen, Lieutenant Paul Nash, and C.R.W. Nevinson – as individuals. In moving away from aggregated narratives and comparing this small group, the importance of subjectivity in memory and representation becomes clear. By returning individuality to a crowded, multitudinous narrative, war can be seen as it truly is: a unique experience for all involved.


Written for CWES 320: Aftermath: The Experience of War and ‘Modern’ Memory.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.