new exhibition featuring the work of a group of British war artists has opened at Southampton City Art Gallery, before going on a tour of other county venues.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Paul Nash, a prominent artist from Boscombe, gave up painting and enlisted in the Artists Rifles, eventually fighting with the Hampshire Regiment.
Members of the Artists Rifles regiment came from a host of artistic backgrounds — painters, poets, actors, architects. Early membership was a Who’s Who of the Victorian art world: Burne Jones, Rossetti, Millais, Leighton and Holman Hunt.
The First World War saw a new stream of creative people join its ranks: Frank Dobson, Charles Jagger, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and John Nash who went “over the top” in 1917.
The exhibition will present an impressive shortlist of artists, spanning more than 80 years of membership of the regiment, with a special literature-linked spoken word film commission.
The exhibition will look at the artists, the art they produced and the regiment itself, and it will also feature Artists Rifles-loaned objects such as costumes and memorabilia.
The exhibition will showcase selected works from Southampton City Art Gallery alongside loans from the Imperial War Museum, British Council Collection, the Royal Academy, the Arts Council and more regional and national institutions.
The exhibition runs at Southampton City Art Gallery until June 28 before moving to the Willis Museum in Basingstoke from July 5 to September 27 and Gosport Discovery Centre from October 4 to December 27.